Limit Rows with the WHERE clause – MySQL Beginner Series

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✔️ You may also be interested in the blog post, MySQL Beginners Series — The SELECT statement, which is a primer for this article.


Limit Rows with the WHERE clause

So far, we have been executing SELECT * and SELECT column_list types of queries. Not only are we retrieving all of the columns, but, also every row in the FROM clause table is returned. Oftentimes, it is not ideal to retrieve all of a tables’ rows since we may need a more specific set of them.

To filter the returned number of rows from a SELECT query, we use the WHERE clause with one or more search filter conditional tests, constraining the number of rows returned by the FROM clause table.

Comparison Operators

These conditional tests are applied to every row in the FROM clause table against column string, number, or date value data using any one or more of these basic comparisons operators:

  • = : Equals to
  • <> or != : Not equals to
  • < : Less than
  • > : Greater than
  • <= : Less than or equals to
  • >= : Greater than or equals to

(Additional conditional tests are possible using more advanced filtering mechanisms such as: LIKE, IN(), and BETWEEN. However, their discussion is beyond the scope of this introductory article.)

Each conditional test returns one of the following values:

  • TRUE
  • FALSE
  • Unknown

For a row to be included in the result set, its specific conditional test (for however many columns are targeted) must evaluate to TRUE.

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Josh Otwell has a passion to study and grow as a SQL Developer and blogger. Other favorite activities find him with his nose buried in a good book, article, or the Linux command line. Among those, he shares a love of tabletop RPG games, reading fantasy novels, and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

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4 thoughts on “Limit Rows with the WHERE clause – MySQL Beginner Series

  1. Learned, that the result of a SQL query may also be “unknown”, in addition to the familiar boolean values true and false.

    • Absolutely sir. Great point. Thank you for your valuable comment.

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