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What is the SELECT statement in SQL?

The SQL SELECT statement is used to query and retrieve data from a database. SELECT is one of the most commonly used SQL statements, allowing you to select specific columns and rows of data from database object(s).

The basic syntax of a SELECT statement is as follows:

SELECT column1, column2, ...    
FROM table_name;
  • The SELECT clause specifies the columns to be retrieved.
  • The FROM clause specifies the object(s) from which the data should be retrieved. In this case, column1 and column2 data will be retrieved from table_name.

If you use a “*” in the SELECT statement, you will retrieve data from all columns from the object(s) in the FROM clause. For example, this query returns all the columns from the tv_show table.


If you want to specify the columns retrieved, you could write the following statement which will return the SHOW_NAME column and the YEAR_LAUNCH column from the tv_show table.

   SANDBOX.tv_show t;

If you are using Coginiti Pro, you can create SELECT statements even faster for your database objects. Hover over an object in the database object tree, right-click and choose “SELECT statement to either the clipboard” (or current tab / new tab). This will write the SELECT statement code for you with all of the details for a given object. You can paste the code into an editor tab, put them in your current editor tab, or open a new tab with the code.

When a SELECT statement is executed, the results are normally returned to a data grid, similar to a spreadsheet, for you to view the data.