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SQL SubQueries

SQL SubQueries Overview

A Subquery or Inner query or Nested query is a query within another SQL query, and embedded within the WHERE clause.

A subquery is used to return data that will be used in the main query as a condition to further restrict the data to be retrieved.

Subqueries can be used with the SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements along with the operators like =, <, >, >=, <=, IN, BETWEEN etc.

There are a few rules that subqueries must follow:

  • Subqueries must be enclosed within parentheses.
  • A subquery can have only one column in the SELECT clause, unless multiple columns are in the main query for the subquery to compare its selected columns.
  • An ORDER BY cannot be used in a subquery, although the main query can use an ORDER BY. The GROUP BY can be used to perform the same function as the ORDER BY in a subquery.
  • Subqueries that return more than one row can only be used with multiple value operators, such as the IN operator.
  • The SELECT list cannot include any references to values that evaluate to a BLOB, ARRAY, CLOB, or NCLOB.
  • A subquery cannot be immediately enclosed in a set function.
  • The BETWEEN operator cannot be used with a subquery; however, the BETWEEN can be used within the subquery.

Subqueries with the SELECT Statement

Subqueries are most frequently used with the SELECT statement. The basic syntax is as follows:

SELECT column_name [, column_name ] FROM     table1 [, table2 ] WHERE  column_name OPERATOR

(SELECT column_name [, column_name ] FROM table1 [, table2 ] [WHERE])

Example:

Consider CUSTOMERS table is having following records:

+—-+———-+—–+———–+———-+

| ID | NAME     | AGE | ADDRESS   | SALARY   |

+—-+———-+—–+———–+———-+

|  1 | Ramesh   |  35 | Ahmedabad |   2000.00 |

|  2 | Khilan   |  25 | Delhi     |  1500.00 |

|  3 | kaushik  |  23 | Kota      |  2000.00 |

|  4 | Chaitali |  25 | Mumbai    |  6500.00 |

|  5 | Hardik   |  27 | Bhopal    |  8500.00 |

|  6 | Komal    |  22 | MP        |  4500.00 |

|  7 | Muffy    |  24 | Indore    | 10000.00 |

+—-+———-+—–+———–+———-+

Now let us check following sub-query with SELECT statement:

SQL> SELECT * FROM CUSTOMERS WHERE ID IN (SELECT ID FROM CUSTOMERS WHERE SALARY > 4500) ;

This would produce following result:

+—-+———-+—–+———+———-+

| ID | NAME     | AGE | ADDRESS | SALARY    |

+—-+———-+—–+———+———-+

|  4 | Chaitali |  25 | Mumbai  |  6500.00 |

|  5 | Hardik   |  27 | Bhopal  |  8500.00 |

|  7 | Muffy    |  24 | Indore  | 10000.00 |

+—-+———-+—–+———+———-+

Subqueries with the INSERT Statement

Subqueries also can be used with INSERT statements. The INSERT statement uses the data returned from the subquery to insert into another table. The selected data in the subquery can be modified with any of the character, date, or number functions.

The basic syntax is as follows:

INSERT INTO table_name [ (column1 [, column2 ]) ] SELECT [ *|column1 [, column2 ] FROM table1 [, table2 ] [ WHERE VALUE OPERATOR ]

Example:

Consider  a  table  CUSTOMERS_BKP  with  similar  structure  as  CUSTOMERS  table.  Now  to  copy  complete

CUSTOMERS table into CUSTOMERS_BKP, following is the syntax:

SQL> INSERT INTO CUSTOMERS_BKP SELECT * FROM CUSTOMERS WHERE ID IN (SELECT ID FROM CUSTOMERS) ;

Subqueries with the UPDATE Statement

The subquery can be used in conjunction with the UPDATE statement. Either single or multiple columns in a table can be updated when using a subquery with the UPDATE statement.

The basic syntax is as follows:

UPDATE table  SET column_name = new_value [ WHERE OPERATOR [ VALUE ] (SELECT COLUMN_NAME FROM TABLE_NAME) [WHERE) ]

Example:

Assuming, we have CUSTOMERS_BKP table available which is backup of CUSTOMERS table.

Following example updates SALARY by 0.25 times in CUSTOMERS table for all the customers  whose AGE is greater than or equal to 27:

SQL> UPDATE CUSTOMERS SET SALARY = SALARY * 0.25 WHERE AGE IN (SELECT AGE FROM CUSTOMERS_BKP WHERE AGE >= 27 );

This would impact two rows and finally CUSTOMERS table would have following records:

+—-+———-+—–+———–+———-+

| ID | NAME     | AGE | ADDRESS   | SALARY   |

+—-+———-+—–+———–+———-+

|  1 | Ramesh   |  35 | Ahmedabad |    125.00 |

|  2 | Khilan   |  25 | Delhi     |  1500.00 |

|  3 | kaushik  |  23 | Kota      |  2000.00 |

|  4 | Chaitali |  25 | Mumbai    |  6500.00 |

|  5 | Hardik   |  27 | Bhopal    |  2125.00 |

|  6 | Komal    |  22 | MP        |  4500.00 |

|  7 | Muffy    |  24 | Indore    | 10000.00 |

+—-+———-+—–+———–+———-+

Subqueries with the DELETE Statement

The subquery can be used in conjunction with the DELETE statement like with any other statements mentioned above.

The basic syntax is as follows:

DELETE FROM TABLE_NAME [ WHERE OPERATOR [ VALUE ] (SELECT COLUMN_NAME FROM TABLE_NAME) [ WHERE) ]

Example:

Assuming, we have CUSTOMERS_BKP table available which is backup of CUSTOMERS table.

Following example deletes records from CUSTOMERS table for all the customers whose AGE is greater than or equal to 27:

SQL> DELETE FROM CUSTOMERS WHERE AGE IN (SELECT AGE FROM CUSTOMERS_BKP WHERE AGE > 27 );

This would impact two rows and finally CUSTOMERS table would have following records:

+—-+———-+—–+———+———-+

| ID | NAME     | AGE | ADDRESS | SALARY    |

+—-+———-+—–+———+———-+

|  2 | Khilan   |  25 | Delhi   |  1500.00 |

|  3 | kaushik  |  23 | Kota    |  2000.00 |

|  4 | Chaitali |  25 | Mumbai  |  6500.00 |

|  6 | Komal    |  22 | MP      |  4500.00 |

|  7 | Muffy    |  24 | Indore  | 10000.00 |

+—-+———-+—–+———+———-+

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