SQL Syntax: An Overview

May 22, 2023 | SQL


To support my work, this post may contain affiliate links (these are referrer links sharing products and services. I get paid a small commission if you make a purchase through the link)

SQL Syntax

SQL is a powerful tool for managing and manipulating relational databases.

SQL syntax are a set of rules that define how SQL commands are written and executed, is a key part of understanding how to work with databases.

This post will look closely at SQL syntax and its key elements.

Syntax Overview

1. SQL Clauses

SQL commands consist of one or more clauses that specify what the command should do.

For example, a SELECT command includes a SELECT clause (specifying which columns to retrieve), a FROM clause (specifying which table to retrieve data from), and a WHERE clause (specifying which rows to retrieve based on certain conditions).

Understanding the purpose of each clause is vital to writing effective SQL commands.

SELECT product_name, unit_price
FROM products
WHERE category_id = 5
ORDER BY unit_price DESC

2. SQL Keywords

SQL includes a set of reserved keywords that have a specific meaning within the language.

These keywords cannot be used as column or table names and are used to define the structure and behaviour of SQL commands. Common SQL keywords include SELECT, FROM, WHERE, JOIN, GROUP BY, and ORDER BY.

SELECT first_name, last_name, email
FROM customers
WHERE country = 'USA'
ORDER BY last_name ASC;

3. SQL Expressions

SQL commands often include expressions, which are combinations of operators, functions, and values that evaluate to a single value. For example, an arithmetic expression might be used to calculate the sum of two columns, or a comparison expression might be used to compare the values in two columns.

Understanding how to construct and use expressions is vital to manipulating and analyzing data in SQL.

SELECT first_name, last_name, salary * 1.1 as new_salary
FROM employees
WHERE department = 'Sales' 
AND salary > 50000;

4. SQL Operators

SQL includes a set of operators that can be used to manipulate values in expressions.

These include arithmetic operators (such as + and ), comparison operators (such as = and <>), and logical operators (such as AND and OR).

Knowing how to use these operators is important for creating complex SQL commands.

UPDATE employees
SET salary = salary * 1.1
WHERE department = 'Sales' 
AND salary > 50000;

5. SQL Functions

SQL includes a set of built-in functions that can be used to manipulate and analyze data.

These include aggregate functions (such as COUNT and SUM), string functions (such as CONCAT and SUBSTRING), and date and time functions (such as DATEADD and GETDATE).

Understanding how to use these functions is key to performing advanced data analysis in SQL.

SELECT COUNT(*) as num_orders
FROM orders
WHERE order_date >= DATEADD(month, -3, GETDATE());

6. SQL Comments

SQL allows for the inclusion of comments within commands, which are ignored by the database engine.

Comments are denoted by either a double-dash () or by enclosing the comment in /* and */.

Comments can help document your code and make it easier to read and understand.

-- This is a SQL comment

SELECT first_name, last_name, email
FROM customers
WHERE country = 'USA'
ORDER BY last_name ASC;

/* This is a SQL comment that
   spans multiple lines */

-- This is another SQL comment


SQL syntax is vital to effectively managing and manipulating data in relational databases.

Mastering SQL syntax allows you to write more effective SQL commands, perform advanced data analysis, and extract valuable insights to inform business decisions.

With practice and experience, you can become proficient in SQL and unlock its full potential.


Submit a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest