Sybase Transact-SQL: Overview of the DISTINCT command

The DISTINCT command:

The DISTINCT command is used for retrieving unique data entries dependent on the columns specified. The opposite way of thinking about it is that it eliminates duplicate result rows. For a basic example lets assume we have the following person table and data

First Name Last Name City State
Matthew Denton Fayetteville New York
Elaine Denton Fayetteville New York
Chris Johnson Syracuse New York
Justin Smith Memphis Texas
John Craig Orlando Florida
Chris Dean New Orleans Lousiana

With the above example we could use the distinct command to obtain all the states that people in the table are from.


This will return

New York

where in not using the DISTINCT command would return New York three times. DISTINCT will work for all the columns that you are interacting with so if we modify the query to also return city in addition to the state the result would be:

City State
Fayetteville New York
Syracuse New York
Memphis Texas
Orlando Florida
New Orleans Lousiana

When using the distinct command it is important to know that if you use the ORDER BY command or GROUP BY command that even if you don’t select the columns used in those commands in the final results the values in their columns will be considered when determining distinct rows. So in our previous example if we order by First Name then we will get 3 New York results as the First Name for those data rows are not the same.


// T-SQL //

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