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5 Typical SQL Syntax Mistakes



For a beginner, learning any kind of programming language can be challenging and can cause you to make mistakes quite often. However, this is how we learn. Learning SQL syntax programming involves the same concept. After a while, you will start to see common patterns in those mistakes, and you will learn more as we go deeper.

We have identified the five most common SQL syntax mistakes that programmers or SQL learners make regardless of age and experience.

SQL Syntax Mistakes

#1: Keyword errors

This is pretty simple to explain and the most common SQL syntax mistake ever committed. However, the fact is, in the SQL syntax or any other programming language for that matter, a little misspelled word or words can lead to failure in the execution of the command. Spelling mistakes are very easy to make. Try not to be too hard on yourself in this respect, but try to be as careful as possible. The key principle here when it comes to programming with SQL is PRECISION!


#2: Command arrangements

We have already seen how the arrangement of the order of keywords can create problems, but you can extend this to commands that have been structured incorrectly too. It could be that all of your commands are written correctly, but you have included them in the wrong order, which will inevitably create an error. To state that again, even though each individual command is precise, the combination that you have used, or more accurately, the combination order by which you have entered them, creates the error.

#3: Quotation marks

There are many native English speakers (or other speakers who speak other than the English language that uses them as a device) that made mistakes especially when it comes to writing quotation marks in a typical prose writing. It can be confusing how to determine when to use single or double-quotes. This is a very common question that people ask themselves. This also applies to SQL learners, but the only difference is that using the wrong quotation mark can result in an error of the command you are trying to run, as opposed to an annoying little mistake that your English teacher would ‘tut-tut’ over.

According to Lisa Kwan, a developer at Academized and Australian Help, she warned, “In SQL there are instances where double quotation marks should go first, for example with general quotes, but other times they need to go inside the single quotes depending on the query. Learning which is not just important for your English teacher, it’s important for your SQL programming too.”

#4: Incorrect ordering of statements

Another common mistake that got to the top of the list, is the incorrect ordering of statements. This can be easily overcome. The grammar in the SQL syntax is not particularly complicated. However, the order of the statements is a crucial element. For any error pertaining to the SQL syntax statement, it will lead to the wrong ordering. Make this your first port of call in terms of checking and addressing the issue.

Read More: Order of Execution in SQL Explained

#5: Errors in Table Names

An important thing when working on SQL is knowing all the table names that you need to use. Like with any commands, any mistakes committed in terms of spelling will result in an error.

Fortunately, before we start breaking down everything from the start and down to the point where we are able to identify the error, the biggest clue you will receive is the error message that comes up on the screen. In some cases, more often than not, are the misspelled words. You need to be careful because a misspelling in SQL can also be with the use of underscores and quotation marks, where we have pointed out here. This is easily done, but is not easily rectifiable – this is a theme with SQL syntax.


What can you ascertain from the mistakes we have mentioned here? First of all, you will see that the vast majority of cases regarding these errors are due to the smallest mistakes in the language you have entered, and can be fixed easily. However, you must learn the basics and then keep practicing repeatedly. The key takeaway is just to keep learning SQL coding and pretty soon, all those errors will be minimized.

2 responses to “5 Typical SQL Syntax Mistakes”
  1. Nick

    Very well put together article that addresses the common SQL syntax mistakes. For me, learning in college was learning from my mistakes to learn the basic SQL syntax. I have learned from my mistakes with SQL syntax but that is all part of it!

    1. Thanks!

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