SQL Syntax

SQL Syntax

SQL syntax refers to the set of rules that define the structure and format of SQL statements. Understanding SQL syntax is essential for writing accurate and effective queries to interact with relational databases.

Basic SQL Syntax

SQL statements are composed of various clauses, keywords, and expressions. Here are the basic components of SQL syntax:

  • SELECT: Retrieves data from one or more tables.
  • FROM: Specifies the table(s) to retrieve data from.
  • WHERE: Filters the result set based on specified conditions.
  • INSERT INTO: Adds new rows of data to a table.
  • UPDATE: Modifies existing data within a table.
  • DELETE FROM: Removes rows of data from a table.
  • CREATE TABLE: Creates a new table in the database.
  • ALTER TABLE: Modifies the structure of an existing table.
  • DROP TABLE: Deletes a table from the database.

SQL Statement Structure

An SQL statement typically follows this structure:

SELECT column1, column2, ...
FROM table_name
WHERE condition;

Here is a breakdown of the SQL statement structure:

  • SELECT column1, column2, ...: Specifies the columns to retrieve.
  • FROM table_name: Specifies the table to query data from.
  • WHERE condition: Filters the result set based on the specified condition.

Example SQL Queries

Let's look at some examples of basic SQL queries:

1. Selecting Data

SELECT first_name, last_name
FROM employees
WHERE department = 'HR';

This query retrieves the first_name and last_name of employees who work in the HR department.

2. Inserting Data

INSERT INTO employees (first_name, last_name, email, hire_date)
VALUES ('John', 'Doe', 'john.doe@example.com', '2023-01-01');

This query inserts a new row into the employees table.

3. Updating Data

UPDATE employees
SET email = 'john.newemail@example.com'
WHERE employee_id = 1;

This query updates the email address of the employee with employee_id 1.

4. Deleting Data

DELETE FROM employees
WHERE employee_id = 1;

This query deletes the row of data where the employee_id is 1.

SQL Keywords

SQL keywords are reserved words that have special meaning in SQL. Here are some commonly used SQL keywords:

  • SELECT: Retrieves data from a database.
  • INSERT INTO: Adds new data to a database.
  • UPDATE: Modifies existing data.
  • DELETE: Removes data from a database.
  • CREATE: Creates a new database object, such as a table or index.
  • ALTER: Modifies an existing database object.
  • DROP: Deletes a database object.
  • FROM: Specifies the table to retrieve or manipulate data from.
  • WHERE: Filters data based on specified conditions.
  • JOIN: Combines rows from two or more tables based on a related column.
  • ORDER BY: Sorts the result set in ascending or descending order.
  • GROUP BY: Groups rows that have the same values in specified columns into summary rows.
  • HAVING: Filters groups based on specified conditions.


Understanding SQL syntax is fundamental for writing effective SQL queries. By mastering the basic structure and components of SQL statements, you can interact with relational databases to retrieve, manipulate, and manage data efficiently.