A BigQuery statement comprises a series of tokens. Tokens include identifiers, quoted identifiers, literals, keywords, operators, and special characters. Tokens can be separated by whitespace (space, backspace, tab, newline) or comments.
Identifiers are names that are associated with columns, tables, and other database objects.
Identifiers must begin with a letter or an underscore. Subsequent characters can be letters, numbers, or underscores. Quoted identifiers are identifiers enclosed by backtick (`) characters and can contain any character, such as spaces or symbols. However, quoted identifiers cannot be empty. Reserved Keywords can only be used as identifiers if enclosed by backticks.
Syntax (defined here as a regular expression):
Customers5 _dataField1 ADGROUP
5Customers _dataField! GROUP
5Customers begins with a number, not a letter or underscore.
contains the special character "!" which is not a letter, number, or underscore.
GROUP is a reserved keyword, and therefore cannot be used as an identifer
without being enclosed by backtick characters.
Both identifiers and quoted identifiers are case insensitive, with some nuances. See Case Sensitivity for further details.
A literal represents a constant value of a built-in data type. Some, but not all, data types can be expressed as literals.
String and Bytes Literals
Both string and bytes literals must be quoted, either with single (
") quotation marks, or triple-quoted with groups of three single
''') or three double (
""") quotation marks.
||Quoted strings enclosed by single (
Quoted strings cannot contain newlines, even when preceded by a backslash (
||Embedded newlines and quotes are allowed without escaping - see fourth example.
A trailing unescaped backslash (
Three unescaped quotes in a row which match the starting quotes will end the string.
||Quoted or triple-quoted literals that have the raw string literal prefix (
Backslash characters (
A raw string cannot end with an odd number of backslashes.
Raw strings are useful for constructing regular expressions.
Prefix characters (
B) are optional for quoted or triple-quoted strings, and indicate that the string is a raw/regex string or a byte sequence, respectively. For
b'''abc''' are both interpreted as type bytes. Prefix characters are case insensitive.
Quoted literals with prefixes:
||Quoted or triple-quoted literals that have the bytes literal prefix (
The table below lists all valid escape sequences for representing non-alphanumeric characters in string and byte literals. Any sequence not in this table produces an error.
||Question Mark (
||Double Quote (
||Single Quote (
||Octal escape, with exactly three digits (in the range 0-7). Decodes to a single Unicode character (in string literals) or byte (in bytes literals).|
||Hex escape, with exactly two hex digits (0-9 or A-F or a-f). Decodes to a single Unicode character (in string literals) or byte (in bytes literals). Examples:
||Unicode escape, with lowercase 'u' and exactly four hex digits. Valid only in string literals or identifiers.
Note that the range D800-DFFF is not allowed, as these are surrogate unicode values.
||Unicode escape, with uppercase 'U' and exactly eight hex digits. Valid only in string literals or identifiers.
Note that the range D800-DFFF is not allowed, as these are surrogate unicode values. Also, values greater than 10FFFF are not allowed.
Integer literals are either a sequence of decimal digits (0 through
9) or a hexadecimal value that is prefixed with "
0x". Integers can be prefixed
+" or "
-" to represent positive and negative values, respectively.
123 0xABC -123
An integer literal is interpreted as an
int64. If the value is outside the
int64 range of values, the literal is interpreted as a
uint64. If the value
is outside the
uint64 range, an error is provided.
Coercion (implicit casting) of integer literals to other integer types can occur if
casting does not result in truncation. For example, if the integer 55 of type
compared to the integer literal 77, the literal value 77 is coerced into type
77 can be represented by the
Floating Point Literals
[+-]DIGITS.[DIGITS][e[+-]DIGITS] [DIGITS].DIGITS[e[+-]DIGITS] DIGITSe[+-]DIGITS
DIGITS represents one or more decimal numbers (0 through 9) and
e represents the exponent marker (e or E).
123.456e-67 .1E4 58. 4e2
Numeric literals that contain either a decimal point or an exponent marker are presumed to be type double.
Implicit coercion of floating point literals to float type is possible if the value is within the valid float range.
There is no literal representation of NaN or infinity, but the following case-insensitive strings can be explicitly cast to float:
- "inf" or "+inf"
Array literals are a comma-separated lists of elements
enclosed in square brackets. The
ARRAY keyword is optional, and an explicit
element type T is also optional.
[1, 2, 3] ['x', 'y', 'xy'] ARRAY[1, 2, 3] ARRAY<string>['x', 'y', 'xy'] ARRAY<int32>
elem is an element in the struct.
elem must be a literal data type, not an expression or column name.
The output type is an anonymous struct type (structs are not named types) with anonymous fields with types matching the types of the input expressions.
Date literals contain the
DATE keyword followed by a string literal that conforms to the canonical date format, enclosed in single quotation marks. Date literals support a range between the
years 1 and 9999, inclusive. Dates outside of this range are invalid.
For example, the following date literal represents September 27, 2014:
String literals in canonical date format also implicitly coerce to DATE type when used where a DATE-type expression is expected. For example, in the query
SELECT * FROM foo WHERE date_col = "2014-09-27"
the string literal
"2014-09-27" will be coerced to a date literal.
TIME literals contain the
TIME keyword and a string literal that conforms to
the canonical time format, enclosed in single quotation marks.
For example, the following time represents 12:30 a.m.:
DATETIME 'YYYY-[M]M-[D]D [[H]H:[M]M:[S]S[.DDDDDD]]'
DATETIME literals contain the
DATETIME keyword and a string literal that
conforms to the canonical DATETIME format, enclosed in single quotation marks.
For example, the following DATETIME represents 12:30 p.m. on September 27, 2014:
DATETIME '2014-09-27 12:30:00.45'
DATETIME literals support a range between the years 1 and 9999, inclusive. DATETIMEs outside of this range are invalid.
String literals with the canonical DATETIME format implicitly coerce to a DATETIME literal when used where a DATETIME expression is expected.
SELECT * FROM foo WHERE datetime_col = "2014-09-27 12:30:00.45"
In this query, the string literal
"2014-09-27 12:30:00.45" is coerced to a
TIMESTAMP 'YYYY-[M]M-[D]D [[H]H:[M]M:[S]S[.DDDDDD]] [timezone]'
Timestamp literals contain the
TIMESTAMP keyword and a string literal that conforms to the canonical timestamp format, enclosed in single quotation marks.
For example, the following timestamp represents 12:30 p.m. on September 27, 2014:
TIMESTAMP '2014-09-27 12:30:00.45'
Timestamp literals support a range between the years 1 and 9999, inclusive. Timestamps outside of this range are invalid.
String literals with the canonical timestamp format, including those with
timezone names, implicitly coerce to a timestamp literal when used where a
timestamp expression is expected. For example, in the following query, the
"2014-09-27 12:30:00.45 America/Los_Angeles" is coerced
to a timestamp literal.
SELECT * FROM foo WHERE timestamp_col = "2014-09-27 12:30:00.45 America/Los_Angeles"
Since timestamp literals must be mapped to a specific point in time, a timezone is necessary to correctly interpret a literal. If a timezone is not specified as part of the literal itself, then the default timezone value, which is set by the BigQuery implementation, is used.
Timezones are represented by strings in the following canonical format, which represents the offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
'-08:00' '-8:15' '+3:00' '+07:30' '-7'
Timezones can also be expressed using string timezone names from the
tz database. For a less comprehensive but
simpler reference, see the
List of tz database timezones
on Wikipedia. Canonical timezone names have the format
<continent/[region/]city>, such as
Note that not all timezone names are interchangeable even if they do happen to
report the same time during a given part of the year. For example,
America/Los_Angeles reports the same time as
UTC-7:00 during Daylight Savings Time, but reports the same time as
UTC-8:00 outside of Daylight Savings Time.
TIMESTAMP '2014-09-27 12:30:00 America/Los_Angeles' TIMESTAMP '2014-09-27 12:30:00 America/Argentina/Buenos_Aires'
BigQuery follows these rules for case sensitivity:
|Aliases within a query||No|
|Regular expression matching||See Notes||Regular expression matching is case sensitive by default, unless the expression itself specifies that it should be case insensitive.|
Keywords are a group of tokens that have special meaning in the BigQuery language, and have the following characteristics:
- Keywords cannot be used as identifiers unless enclosed by backtick (`) characters.
- Keywords are case insensitive.
BigQuery has the following reserved keywords.
Statements can optionally use a terminating semicolon (
;) in the context of a query string submitted through an Application Programming Interface (API). Some interactive tools require statements to have a terminating semicolon.
In a request containing multiple statements, statements must be separated by semicolons, but the semicolon is optional for the final statement.
Comments are sequences of characters that are ignored by the parser. BigQuery supports the following types of comments.
Single line comments
Single line comments are supported by prepending
-- before the
SELECT x FROM T; # x is a field and T is a table
Comment includes all characters from the '#' character to the end of the line.
SELECT x FROM T; --x is a field and T is a table
Comment includes all characters from the '
--' sequence to the end of the line. You can optionally add a space after the '
Multiline comments are supported by enclosing the comment using
/* <comment> */.
SELECT x FROM T /* x is a field and T is a table */ WHERE x = 3;
SELECT x FROM T /* comment starts here /* comment ends on this line */ this line is not considered a comment */ WHERE x = 3;
Comment includes all characters, including newlines, enclosed by the first
occurrence of '
/*' and the first subsequent occurrence of '
comments are not supported. The second example contains a nested comment that
renders the query invalid.