Operators in Standard SQL

Operators are represented by special characters or keywords; they do not use function call syntax. An operator manipulates any number of data inputs, also called operands, and returns a result.

Common conventions:

  • Unless otherwise specified, all operators return NULL when one of the operands is NULL.
  • All operators will throw an error if the computation result overflows.
  • For all floating point operations, +/-inf and NaN may only be returned if one of the operands is +/-inf or NaN. In other cases, an error is returned.

Operator precedence

The following table lists all BigQuery operators from highest to lowest precedence, i.e. the order in which they will be evaluated within a statement.

Order of Precedence Operator Input Data Types Name Operator Arity
1 . STRUCT
Field access operator Binary
  Array subscript operator ARRAY Array position. Must be used with OFFSET or ORDINAL—see Array Functions . Binary
2 + All numeric types Unary plus Unary
  - All numeric types Unary minus Unary
  ~ Integer or BYTES Bitwise not Unary
3 * All numeric types Multiplication Binary
  / All numeric types Division Binary
  || STRING, BYTES, or ARRAY<T> Concatenation operator Binary
4 + All numeric types, DATE with INT64 , INTERVAL Addition Binary
  - All numeric types, DATE with INT64 , INTERVAL Subtraction Binary
5 << Integer or BYTES Bitwise left-shift Binary
  >> Integer or BYTES Bitwise right-shift Binary
6 & Integer or BYTES Bitwise and Binary
7 ^ Integer or BYTES Bitwise xor Binary
8 | Integer or BYTES Bitwise or Binary
9 (Comparison Operators) = Any comparable type. See Data Types for a complete list. Equal Binary
  < Any comparable type. See Data Types for a complete list. Less than Binary
  > Any comparable type. See Data Types for a complete list. Greater than Binary
  <= Any comparable type. See Data Types for a complete list. Less than or equal to Binary
  >= Any comparable type. See Data Types for a complete list. Greater than or equal to Binary
  !=, <> Any comparable type. See Data Types for a complete list. Not equal Binary
  [NOT] LIKE STRING and byte Value does [not] match the pattern specified Binary
  [NOT] BETWEEN Any comparable types. See Data Types for a complete list. Value is [not] within the range specified Binary
  [NOT] IN Any comparable types. See Data Types for a complete list. Value is [not] in the set of values specified Binary
  IS [NOT] NULL All Value is [not] NULL Unary
  IS [NOT] TRUE BOOL Value is [not] TRUE. Unary
  IS [NOT] FALSE BOOL Value is [not] FALSE. Unary
10 NOT BOOL Logical NOT Unary
11 AND BOOL Logical AND Binary
12 OR BOOL Logical OR Binary

Operators with the same precedence are left associative. This means that those operators are grouped together starting from the left and moving right. For example, the expression:

x AND y AND z

is interpreted as

( ( x AND y ) AND z )

The expression:

x * y / z

is interpreted as:

( ( x * y ) / z )

All comparison operators have the same priority, but comparison operators are not associative. Therefore, parentheses are required in order to resolve ambiguity. For example:

(x < y) IS FALSE

Field access operator

expression.fieldname[. ...]

Description

Gets the value of a field. Alternatively known as the dot operator. Can be used to access nested fields. For example, expression.fieldname1.fieldname2.

Input types

  • STRUCT

Return type

  • For STRUCT: SQL data type of fieldname. If a field is not found in the struct, an error is thrown.

Array subscript operator

array_expression [position_keyword (array_element_id)]

Description

Get a value in an array at a specific location. Supported by some array functions.

Input types

  • position_keyword: OFFSET or ORDINAL. To learn more, see OFFSET and ORDINAL
  • array_element_id: An integer that represents an index in the array.

Return type

Type T stored at the index in an array.

Arithmetic operators

All arithmetic operators accept input of numeric type T, and the result type has type T unless otherwise indicated in the description below:

Name Syntax
Addition X + Y
Subtraction X - Y
Multiplication X * Y
Division X / Y
Unary Plus + X
Unary Minus - X

NOTE: Divide by zero operations return an error. To return a different result, consider the IEEE_DIVIDE or SAFE_DIVIDE functions.

Result types for Addition, Subtraction and Multiplication:

INPUTINT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
INT64INT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
NUMERICNUMERICNUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
BIGNUMERICBIGNUMERICBIGNUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
FLOAT64FLOAT64FLOAT64FLOAT64FLOAT64

Result types for Division:

INPUTINT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
INT64FLOAT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
NUMERICNUMERICNUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
BIGNUMERICBIGNUMERICBIGNUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
FLOAT64FLOAT64FLOAT64FLOAT64FLOAT64

Result types for Unary Plus:

INPUTINT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
OUTPUTINT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64

Result types for Unary Minus:

INPUTINT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64
OUTPUTINT64NUMERICBIGNUMERICFLOAT64

Date arithmetics operators

Operators '+' and '-' can be used for arithmetic operations on dates.

date_expression + int64_expression
int64_expression + date_expression
date_expression - int64_expression

Description

Adds or subtracts int64_expression days to or from date_expression. This is equivalent to DATE_ADD or DATE_SUB functions, when interval is expressed in days.

Return Data Type

DATE

Example

SELECT DATE "2020-09-22" + 1 AS day_later, DATE "2020-09-22" - 7 AS week_ago

+------------+------------+
| day_later  | week_ago   |
+------------+------------+
| 2020-09-23 | 2020-09-15 |
+------------+------------+

Datetime subtraction

date_expression - date_expression
timestamp_expression - timestamp_expression
datetime_expression - datetime_expression

Description

Computes the difference between two datetime values as an interval.

Return Data Type

INTERVAL

Example

SELECT
  DATE "2021-05-20" - DATE "2020-04-19" AS date_diff,
  TIMESTAMP "2021-06-01 12:34:56.789" - TIMESTAMP "2021-05-31 00:00:00" AS time_diff

+-------------------+------------------------+
| date_diff         | time_diff              |
+-------------------+------------------------+
| 0-0 396 0:0:0     | 0-0 0 36:34:56.789     |
+-------------------+------------------------+

Interval arithmetic operators

Addition and subtraction

date_expression + interval_expression = DATETIME
date_expression - interval_expression = DATETIME
timestamp_expression + interval_expression = TIMESTAMP
timestamp_expression - interval_expression = TIMESTAMP
datetime_expression + interval_expression = DATETIME
datetime_expression - interval_expression = DATETIME

Description

Adds an interval to a datetime value or subtracts an interval from a datetime value. Example

SELECT
  DATE "2021-04-20" + INTERVAL 25 HOUR AS date_plus,
  TIMESTAMP "2021-05-02 00:01:02.345" - INTERVAL 10 SECOND AS time_minus;

+-------------------------+--------------------------------+
| date_plus               | time_minus                     |
+-------------------------+--------------------------------+
| 2021-04-21 01:00:00     | 2021-05-02 00:00:52.345+00     |
+-------------------------+--------------------------------+

Multiplication and division

interval_expression * integer_expression = INTERVAL
interval_expression / integer_expression = INTERVAL

Description

Multiplies or divides an interval value by an integer.

Example

SELECT
  INTERVAL '1:2:3' HOUR TO SECOND * 10 AS mul1,
  INTERVAL 35 SECOND * 4 AS mul2,
  INTERVAL 10 YEAR / 3 AS div1,
  INTERVAL 1 MONTH / 12 AS div2

+----------------+--------------+-------------+--------------+
| mul1           | mul2         | div1        | div2         |
+----------------+--------------+-------------+--------------+
| 0-0 0 10:20:30 | 0-0 0 0:2:20 | 3-4 0 0:0:0 | 0-0 2 12:0:0 |
+----------------+--------------+-------------+--------------+

Bitwise operators

All bitwise operators return the same type and the same length as the first operand.

Name Syntax Input Data Type Description
Bitwise not ~ X Integer or BYTES Performs logical negation on each bit, forming the ones' complement of the given binary value.
Bitwise or X | Y X: Integer or BYTES
Y: Same type as X
Takes two bit patterns of equal length and performs the logical inclusive OR operation on each pair of the corresponding bits. This operator throws an error if X and Y are BYTES of different lengths.
Bitwise xor X ^ Y X: Integer or BYTES
Y: Same type as X
Takes two bit patterns of equal length and performs the logical exclusive OR operation on each pair of the corresponding bits. This operator throws an error if X and Y are BYTES of different lengths.
Bitwise and X & Y X: Integer or BYTES
Y: Same type as X
Takes two bit patterns of equal length and performs the logical AND operation on each pair of the corresponding bits. This operator throws an error if X and Y are BYTES of different lengths.
Left shift X << Y X: Integer or BYTES
Y: INT64
Shifts the first operand X to the left. This operator returns 0 or a byte sequence of b'\x00' if the second operand Y is greater than or equal to the bit length of the first operand X (for example, 64 if X has the type INT64). This operator throws an error if Y is negative.
Right shift X >> Y X: Integer or BYTES
Y: INT64
Shifts the first operand X to the right. This operator does not do sign bit extension with a signed type (i.e. it fills vacant bits on the left with 0). This operator returns 0 or a byte sequence of b'\x00' if the second operand Y is greater than or equal to the bit length of the first operand X (for example, 64 if X has the type INT64). This operator throws an error if Y is negative.

Logical operators

BigQuery supports the AND, OR, and NOT logical operators. Logical operators allow only BOOL or NULL input and use three-valued logic to produce a result. The result can be TRUE, FALSE, or NULL:

x y x AND y x OR y
TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE
TRUE FALSE FALSE TRUE
TRUE NULL NULL TRUE
FALSE TRUE FALSE TRUE
FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE
FALSE NULL FALSE NULL
NULL TRUE NULL TRUE
NULL FALSE FALSE NULL
NULL NULL NULL NULL
x NOT x
TRUE FALSE
FALSE TRUE
NULL NULL

Examples

The examples in this section reference a table called entry_table:

+-------+
| entry |
+-------+
| a     |
| b     |
| c     |
| NULL  |
+-------+
SELECT 'a' FROM entry_table WHERE entry = 'a'

-- a => 'a' = 'a' => TRUE
-- b => 'b' = 'a' => FALSE
-- NULL => NULL = 'a' => NULL

+-------+
| entry |
+-------+
| a     |
+-------+
SELECT entry FROM entry_table WHERE NOT (entry = 'a')

-- a => NOT('a' = 'a') => NOT(TRUE) => FALSE
-- b => NOT('b' = 'a') => NOT(FALSE) => TRUE
-- NULL => NOT(NULL = 'a') => NOT(NULL) => NULL

+-------+
| entry |
+-------+
| b     |
| c     |
+-------+
SELECT entry FROM entry_table WHERE entry IS NULL

-- a => 'a' IS NULL => FALSE
-- b => 'b' IS NULL => FALSE
-- NULL => NULL IS NULL => TRUE

+-------+
| entry |
+-------+
| NULL  |
+-------+

Comparison operators

Comparisons always return BOOL. Comparisons generally require both operands to be of the same type. If operands are of different types, and if BigQuery can convert the values of those types to a common type without loss of precision, BigQuery will generally coerce them to that common type for the comparison; BigQuery will generally coerce literals to the type of non-literals, where present. Comparable data types are defined in Data Types.

STRUCTs support only 4 comparison operators: equal (=), not equal (!= and <>), and IN.

The following rules apply when comparing these data types:

  • FLOAT64: All comparisons with NaN return FALSE, except for != and <>, which return TRUE.
  • BOOL: FALSE is less than TRUE.
  • STRING: Strings are compared codepoint-by-codepoint, which means that canonically equivalent strings are only guaranteed to compare as equal if they have been normalized first.
  • NULL: The convention holds here: any operation with a NULL input returns NULL.
Name Syntax Description
Less Than X < Y Returns TRUE if X is less than Y.
Less Than or Equal To X <= Y Returns TRUE if X is less than or equal to Y.
Greater Than X > Y Returns TRUE if X is greater than Y.
Greater Than or Equal To X >= Y Returns TRUE if X is greater than or equal to Y.
Equal X = Y Returns TRUE if X is equal to Y.
Not Equal X != Y
X <> Y
Returns TRUE if X is not equal to Y.
BETWEEN X [NOT] BETWEEN Y AND Z

Returns TRUE if X is [not] within the range specified. The result of "X BETWEEN Y AND Z" is equivalent to "Y <= X AND X <= Z" but X is evaluated only once in the former.

LIKE X [NOT] LIKE Y Checks if the STRING in the first operand X matches a pattern specified by the second operand Y. Expressions can contain these characters:
  • A percent sign "%" matches any number of characters or bytes
  • An underscore "_" matches a single character or byte
  • You can escape "\", "_", or "%" using two backslashes. For example, "\\%". If you are using raw strings, only a single backslash is required. For example, r"\%".
IN Multiple - see below Returns FALSE if the right operand is empty. Returns NULL if the left operand is NULL. Returns TRUE or NULL, never FALSE, if the right operand contains NULL. Arguments on either side of IN are general expressions. Neither operand is required to be a literal, although using a literal on the right is most common. X is evaluated only once.

When testing values that have a STRUCT data type for equality, it's possible that one or more fields are NULL. In such cases:

  • If all non-NULL field values are equal, the comparison returns NULL.
  • If any non-NULL field values are not equal, the comparison returns false.

The following table demonstrates how STRUCT data types are compared when they have fields that are NULL valued.

Struct1 Struct2 Struct1 = Struct2
STRUCT(1, NULL) STRUCT(1, NULL) NULL
STRUCT(1, NULL) STRUCT(2, NULL) FALSE
STRUCT(1,2) STRUCT(1, NULL) NULL

IN operator

The IN operator supports the following syntax:

search_value [NOT] IN value_set

value_set:
  {
    (expression[, ...])
    | (subquery)
    | UNNEST(array_expression)
  }

Description

Checks for an equal value in a set of values. Semantic rules apply, but in general, IN returns TRUE if an equal value is found, FALSE if an equal value is excluded, otherwise NULL. NOT IN returns FALSE if an equal value is found, TRUE if an equal value is excluded, otherwise NULL.

  • search_value: The expression that is compared to a set of values.
  • value_set: One or more values to compare to a search value.

    • (expression[, ...]): A list of expressions.
    • (subquery): A subquery that returns a single column. The values in that column are the set of values. If no rows are produced, the set of values is empty.
    • UNNEST(array_expression): An UNNEST operator that returns a column of values from an array expression. This is equivalent to:

      IN (SELECT element FROM UNNEST(array_expression) AS element)
      

Semantic rules

When using the IN operator, the following semantics apply in this order:

  • Returns FALSE if value_set is empty.
  • Returns NULL if search_value is NULL.
  • Returns TRUE if value_set contains a value equal to search_value.
  • Returns NULL if value_set contains a NULL.
  • Returns FALSE.

When using the NOT IN operator, the following semantics apply in this order:

  • Returns TRUE if value_set is empty.
  • Returns NULL if search_value is NULL.
  • Returns FALSE if value_set contains a value equal to search_value.
  • Returns NULL if value_set contains a NULL.
  • Returns TRUE.

The semantics of:

x IN (y, z, ...)

are defined as equivalent to:

(x = y) OR (x = z) OR ...

and the subquery and array forms are defined similarly.

x NOT IN ...

is equivalent to:

NOT(x IN ...)

The UNNEST form treats an array scan like UNNEST in the FROM clause:

x [NOT] IN UNNEST(<array expression>)

This form is often used with ARRAY parameters. For example:

x IN UNNEST(@array_parameter)

See the Arrays topic for more information on how to use this syntax.

IN can be used with multi-part keys by using the struct constructor syntax. For example:

(Key1, Key2) IN ( (12,34), (56,78) )
(Key1, Key2) IN ( SELECT (table.a, table.b) FROM table )

See the Struct Type for more information.

Return Data Type

BOOL

Examples

You can use these WITH clauses to emulate temporary tables for Words and Items in the following examples:

WITH Words AS (
  SELECT 'Intend' as value UNION ALL
  SELECT 'Secure' UNION ALL
  SELECT 'Clarity' UNION ALL
  SELECT 'Peace' UNION ALL
  SELECT 'Intend' UNION ALL
 )
SELECT * FROM Words;

+----------+
| value    |
+----------+
| Intend   |
| Secure   |
| Clarity  |
| Intend   |
+----------+
WITH
  Items AS (
    SELECT STRUCT('blue' AS color, 'round' AS shape) AS info UNION ALL
    SELECT STRUCT('blue', 'square') UNION ALL
    SELECT STRUCT('red', 'round')
  )
SELECT * FROM Items;

+----------------------------+
| info                       |
+----------------------------+
| {blue color, round shape}  |
| {blue color, square shape} |
| {red color, round shape}   |
+----------------------------+

Example with IN and an expression:

SELECT * FROM Words WHERE value IN ('Intend', 'Secure');

+----------+
| value    |
+----------+
| Intend   |
| Secure   |
| Intend   |
+----------+

Example with NOT IN and an expression:

SELECT * FROM Words WHERE value NOT IN ('Intend');

+----------+
| value    |
+----------+
| Secure   |
| Clarity  |
+----------+

Example with IN, a scalar subquery, and an expression:

SELECT * FROM Words WHERE value IN ((SELECT 'Intend'), 'Clarity');

+----------+
| value    |
+----------+
| Intend   |
| Clarity  |
| Intend   |
+----------+

Example with IN and an UNNEST operation:

SELECT * FROM Words WHERE value IN UNNEST(['Secure', 'Clarity']);

+----------+
| value    |
+----------+
| Secure   |
| Clarity  |
+----------+

Example with IN and a STRUCT:

SELECT
  (SELECT AS STRUCT Items.info) as item
FROM
  Items
WHERE (info.shape, info.color) IN (('round', 'blue'));

+------------------------------------+
| item                               |
+------------------------------------+
| { {blue color, round shape} info } |
+------------------------------------+

IS operators

IS operators return TRUE or FALSE for the condition they are testing. They never return NULL, even for NULL inputs, unlike the IS_INF and IS_NAN functions defined in Mathematical Functions. If NOT is present, the output BOOL value is inverted.

Function Syntax Input Data Type Result Data Type Description
X IS [NOT] NULL
Any value type BOOL Returns TRUE if the operand X evaluates to NULL, and returns FALSE otherwise.
X IS [NOT] TRUE
BOOL BOOL Returns TRUE if the BOOL operand evaluates to TRUE. Returns FALSE otherwise.
X IS [NOT] FALSE
BOOL BOOL Returns TRUE if the BOOL operand evaluates to FALSE. Returns FALSE otherwise.

Concatenation operator

The concatenation operator combines multiple values into one.

Function Syntax Input Data Type Result Data Type
STRING || STRING [ || ... ]
STRING STRING
BYTES || BYTES [ || ... ]
BYTES STRING
ARRAY<T> || ARRAY<T> [ || ... ]
ARRAY<T> ARRAY<T>