How To Concatenate Sql

As a software developer, I often find myself needing to concatenate SQL strings in my projects. Concatenation in SQL involves combining values from different columns or literal values into a single string. It’s a common operation when constructing dynamic SQL queries or creating custom output for reporting purposes.

Basic Concatenation Using the Plus Operator (+)

The simplest way to concatenate strings in SQL is by using the plus operator (+). For example, if I want to combine a first name and a last name from a table into a single full name, I can use the following query:

SELECT first_name + ' ' + last_name AS full_name
FROM customers;

In this case, I’m using the plus operator to add a space between the first name and last name, resulting in the concatenated full name. It’s important to note that the plus operator might behave differently in different database systems, so it’s essential to check the specific documentation for the database you are using.

Concatenating with the CONCAT Function

Another approach to string concatenation is using the CONCAT function. This function takes multiple string arguments and concatenates them together. One advantage of using CONCAT is that it gracefully handles NULL values without returning a null result.

SELECT CONCAT('Hello, ', first_name, ' ', last_name) AS greeting
FROM employees;

Here, I’m using the CONCAT function to create a personalized greeting for each employee by combining the constant string ‘Hello, ‘ with the employee’s first name and last name.

Appending Strings with the Concatenation Operator (||)

In some database systems like Oracle and PostgreSQL, the concatenation operator (||) is used instead of the plus operator for string concatenation. I find this particularly useful when working with these database systems.

SELECT first_name || ' ' || last_name AS full_name
FROM users;

I prefer using the concatenation operator for concatenating strings in Oracle and PostgreSQL due to its consistency with the standard SQL syntax used in these systems.


String concatenation is a fundamental operation in SQL, and there are multiple ways to achieve it depending on the database system you are working with. Whether it’s using the plus operator, the CONCAT function, or the concatenation operator, understanding these techniques is crucial for building dynamic and efficient SQL queries.