BigQuery String Functions: Syntax and Usage Examples

Google BigQuery SQL

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Modern Data Management Guide

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Modern Data Management Guide

Welcome to our deep dive into BigQuery's String functions. If you're a data analyst, SQL developer, or anyone in between who is dealing with data in BigQuery, you've landed in the right place.

We're not just brushing the surface here; we're tunneling into the rich world of string manipulation to explore how it can transform your data analysis and reporting. Let's start this journey together, shall we?

Understanding the Basics of String Functions in Google BigQuery

At the heart of BigQuery's power is a bunch of string functions. These functions are essential for data preparation, allowing you to clean, modify, and analyze your data effectively. Whether you're trimming whitespace, changing cases, or extracting specific data points, understanding these functions is your first step toward mastering BigQuery's full potential.

Diving Deeper into String Functions with Syntax and Examples

In this section, we're going beyond the basics to explore the power and flexibility of BigQuery's string functions. By understanding the syntax and seeing these functions in action through examples, you'll be equipped to handle a wide range of data manipulation tasks. These examples are designed to be both informative and easily applicable, enabling you to refine your data with precision and efficiency.

Removing Characters with String Functions

Removing unnecessary characters from your data can significantly improve its quality and usability. BigQuery provides several functions to help you clean and prepare your data. Whether you're dealing with unwanted spaces or trimming text to meet specific formatting requirements, these functions are indispensable tools in your data manipulation toolkit. Let's look at how to use them effectively, with clear syntax and practical examples.

TRIM function

The TRIM function is used to remove whitespace from both ends of a string, cleaning up the data for further analysis.




TRIM("hello world")

returns "hello world", eliminating leading and trailing spaces to tidy up your data.

LTRIM function

The LTRIM function specifically removes whitespace from the beginning (leading side) of a string, useful for left text alignment.




LTRIM("hello world")

yields "hello world ", removing only the leading space and keeping the text properly aligned to the left.

RTRIM function

The RTRIM function eliminates whitespace from the end (trailing side) of a string, ensuring the string finishes neatly.




RTRIM("hello world")

produces " hello world", targeting and removing only the trailing space to ensure precise string endings.

Adding Characters and Whitespace with String Functions

In Google BigQuery, there are these handy tools called SQL functions that let you spruce up text data by adding characters and spaces. Think of it like giving your data a little makeover, making it easier on the eyes and better organized for when you need to dig into it for analysis or whip up reports.

LPAD function

The LPAD function is used to add specified characters to the left side of a string until it reaches a certain length.


LPAD(string, length, pad_string)


Using LPAD("hello", 8, "x")

returns "xxxhello". This syntax pads the string "hello" with "x" on the left to create a fixed length of 8 characters.

RPAD function

Exact opposite of the LPAD function, the RPAD function adds specified characters to the right side of a string to achieve a desired length.


RPAD(string, length, pad_string)


RPAD("hello", 8, "x")

yields "helloxxx", adding "x" on the right to ensure the string reaches a total length of 8 characters, ideal for text alignment and formatting.

REPEAT function

The REPEAT function in Google BigQuery is used to replicate a given string a certain number of times, creating a new string that consists of the original string repeated sequentially, which is useful for generating patterns or extending text dynamically within a query.


REPEAT(string, number)


REPEAT("hello", 3)

produces "hellohellohello", repeating the string "hello" three times, effectively multiplying the data as needed.

Changing Case with String Functions

Manipulating the case of text in BigQuery is straightforward and highly effective for data normalization. Whether you're dealing with user-generated content, product names, or any dataset where case consistency is required, these functions are indispensable tools. Leveraging these functions streamlines your data processing tasks, making your analysis more efficient and your reports more polished.

UPPER function

The UPPER function in Google BigQuery changes all the letters in a string to uppercase, making it easy to match or compare texts without worrying about letter cases.





returns "HELLO" This transformation facilitates case-sensitive comparisons by ensuring uniformity in the case.

LOWER function

The LOWER function in Google BigQuery turns every letter in a string to lowercase, helping to standardize text data and simplify comparisons by removing case differences.





yields "hello", achieving consistency in your dataset by normalizing the case of your text.

INITCAP function

The INITCAP function in Google BigQuery makes the first letter of each word in a string uppercase and the rest lowercase, perfect for fixing titles or names to look neat and properly formatted.




INITCAP("hello world")

produces "Hello World", perfect for formatting titles and names by ensuring each word starts with a capital letter.

Working with Substrings

BigQuery gives you tools like CONTAINS_SUBSTR, STRPOS, and REGEXP functions to easily search, pull out, or swap parts of your text.

Searching substrings with CONTAINS_SUBSTR function

Determines if a substring exists within a string, simplifying the identification of specific patterns or words. This method is useful for finding specific words or patterns in text, making it easier to filter data, check for certain information, or categorize text based on keywords.


CONTAINS_SUBSTR(string, substring)


CONTAINS_SUBSTR("Data analysis in BigQuery", "BigQuery")

returns TRUE, indicating the presence of "BigQuery" within the string "Data analysis in BigQuery".

Searching substrings with STRPOS function

The STRPOS function in Google BigQuery helps find the exact location of a substring within a string, which is crucial for tasks like analyzing text patterns, data extraction, and automating content processing.


STRPOS(string, substring)


STRPOS("Explore BigQuery functions", "BigQuery")

returns the starting position of the substring "BigQuery" within the larger string, which is “9”. This indicates that "BigQuery" starts at the 9th character of "Explore BigQuery functions," helping users precisely pinpoint its location for analysis or manipulation.

Searching substrings with INSTR and REGEXP_INSTR functions

The INSTR and REGEXP_INSTR functions in Google BigQuery allow for advanced searching within strings, with INSTR locating the exact position of a substring and REGEXP_INSTR using regular expressions for more complex pattern matching. These functions are useful for detailed text analysis, enabling precise data extraction, validation, and manipulation based on specific patterns or conditions within text data.

INSTR Syntax: 

INSTR(string, substring)

INSTR Example: 

INSTR("hello world", "world")

would return 7, indicating that the substring "world" begins at the 7th character of the string "hello world".


REGEXP_INSTR(string, pattern)


REGEXP_INSTR("Data insights 2024", r'(\d+)')

the function looks for the first group of numbers in "Data insights 2024".

Here’s what the pattern means:

  • “\d” finds any number.
  • “+” means it looks for one or more numbers together.

So, “\d+” finds the part "2024" in the text, showing how this function can search for specific patterns, like a series of numbers, within a text.

Here is a Regex Cheat Sheet to understand each expression.

Replacing substrings with the REPLACE function

The REPLACE function in Google BigQuery allows for the substitution of a specific substring within a string with another substring. This function is particularly useful for modifying text data, such as correcting typos, updating information, or standardizing terminology across datasets for cleaner, more consistent data analysis.


REPLACE(original_string, old_substring, new_substring)


REPLACE("Big Data", "Data", "Query")

changes "Big Data" to "Big Query", illustrating the function's utility in text manipulation. Here the syntax instructs to remove the old substring “Data” and replace it with “Query” which returns the result as “Big Query”.

Replacing substrings with REGEXP_REPLACE function

The REGEXP_REPLACE function in Google BigQuery uses patterns to change specific parts of the text. It's great for fixing or changing text in detailed ways, like cleaning up data or changing words that follow certain rules.


REGEXP_REPLACE(string, pattern, replacement)


REGEXP_REPLACE("Contact: 123-456-7890", r'\d', "X")

this syntax looks through the text "Contact: 123-456-7890" and changes every number (\d means any digit) to the letter "X". So, instead of showing the actual phone number, it turns it into "Contact: XXX-XXX-XXXX", hiding the real numbers.

Extracting substrings with LEFT function

The LEFT function in Google BigQuery extracts a specified number of characters from the beginning of a string. This function is useful for trimming text to a desired length or isolating specific segments of data at the start of a string for analysis, comparison, or data preprocessing tasks.


LEFT(string, number_of_characters)


LEFT("BigQuery Analysis", 8)

retrieves "BigQuery" which is the first 8 characters, demonstrating the function's simplicity in extracting starting characters.

Extracting substrings with RIGHT function

Opposite of LEFT, Substrings with RIGHT retrieves characters from the end of a string, aiding in data parsing.


RIGHT(string, number_of_characters)


RIGHT("Data Processing", 10)

yields "Processing", highlighting the function's ease in accessing the 10 ending characters.

Splitting substrings with SPLIT function

The SPLIT function in Google BigQuery divides a string into a list of substrings based on a specified delimiter. This function is key for taking apart and understanding complicated text, helping to pull out important details from texts by breaking them into parts for easier review or changes.


SPLIT(string, delimiter)


SPLIT("name,email,phone", ",")

produces an array of ["name", "email", "phone"]. This syntax takes the text "name,email,phone" and cuts it into pieces wherever it sees a comma (","). So, it turns the single string into a list of three separate texts: ["name", "email", "phone"]. This shows how the function can sort data into more manageable parts.

Extracting substrings with SUBSTR function

The SUBSTR function cuts out a piece of text from a larger string. It's great for picking out specific parts of text for simpler tasks like cleaning data or looking closer at certain details.


SUBSTR(string, start_position, length)


SUBSTR("BigQuery Tutorial", 1, 8)

extracts "BigQuery", emphasizing the function's precision in data extraction. In the example, the syntax takes the first 8 characters starting from the 1st position of "BigQuery Tutorial". This results in "BigQuery", showing how the function can accurately pick out a specific part of the text.

Extracting substrings with REGEXP_EXTRACT or REGEXP_SUBSTR functions

The REGEXP_EXTRACT or REGEXP_SUBSTR functions in Google BigQuery use patterns to pull out specific pieces of text from a larger string. They're really helpful for grabbing exactly what you need from text, such as email addresses or phone numbers, especially when the text parts you want to follow a certain pattern or rule.


REGEXP_EXTRACT(string, pattern)


REGEXP_EXTRACT("", "@(.+)$")

captures "", demonstrating the function's effectiveness in extracting specific data points.

Breakdown of the pattern:

  • “@” finds the '@' character in the email.
  • “(.+)” captures everything after '@'.
  • “.” matches any character (except newline).
  • “+” indicates one or more of the preceding elements (any character in this case).
  • “$” ensures the match is at the end of the string.

Result: This pattern tells REGEXP_EXTRACT to look for and return everything after the '@' symbol, right up to the end of the string, which is "" in this case.


REGEXP_SUBSTR(string, pattern)


REGEXP_SUBSTR('Item123 is available in size 4 and costs $299.', '\\d+')

In this example:

  • The string is: 'Item123 is available in size 4 and costs $299.'
  • The pattern is: '\d+'. Where \\d” matches any digit (the double backslash is used for escaping in strings, but effectively it represents a single backslash followed by d in the regex pattern).
  • “+” indicates one or more occurrences of the preceding element (digits in this case).
  • The REGEXP_SUBSTR function will return 123, which is the first sequence of digits found in the string. This is a straightforward example suitable for beginners to understand how to extract specific types of data (like numbers) from within a text string using regular expressions in BigQuery.

Extracting substrings with REGEXP_EXTRACT_ALL function

REGEXP_EXTRACT_ALL function extracts all occurrences of a pattern within a string, returning an array of all matches. This is useful for capturing multiple instances of a pattern from a single string, enhancing data parsing and extraction tasks.


REGEXP_EXTRACT_ALL(string, pattern)


REGEXP_EXTRACT_ALL("Event dates: 2023-01-01, 2023-02-01", r'\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2}')

identifies all date patterns, showcasing the function's utility in capturing multiple data points.

In this example:

  • "\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2}" is used to find dates in the format YYYY-MM-DD.
  • “\d{4}” looks for a sequence of 4 digits (YYYY).
  • “\-” is a dash separating year, month, and day.
  • “\d{2}” looks for a sequence of 2 digits, first for the month (MM), then for the day (DD).

By capturing every instance of the date pattern from the text, the syntax returned an array containing ["2023-01-01", "2023-02-01"]. This allows for easy extraction of multiple data points from a single string, which can be particularly helpful in data analysis and processing tasks.

Combining Strings

Combining strings is a fundamental task in data manipulation, enabling you to merge data from different sources into a cohesive whole.

CONCAT function

CONCAT("Hello, ", "world!")

syntax unites strings into "Hello, world!", illustrating how to stitch together data from different sources seamlessly.

The CONCAT function in BigQuery is your go-to tool for this purpose. It simplifies the process of stitching together multiple string values, enhancing readability and providing clarity in your datasets.


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Tips and Best Practices for BigQuery String Functions

When venturing into complex data manipulation with Google BigQuery, remember to:

  1. Leverage REGEXP functions for pattern matching and extraction, saving time and resources.
  2. Optimize your SUBSTR usage to improve performance.
  3. Use LIKE for flexible data filtering.
  4. Manage null values with COALESCE and IFNULL to maintain data integrity.
  5. Employ string functions in WHERE clauses to filter datasets effectively.

Optimizing REGEXP Functions for Efficiency

Utilize the power of REGEXP functions in BigQuery to perform complex pattern matching and data extraction with ease. By crafting precise regular expressions, you can filter, search, and manipulate text data efficiently, cutting down on processing time and enhancing data quality.

Enhancing Data Queries with SUBSTR Functions

The SUBSTR function is a vital tool for extracting specific portions of a string. To optimize its use, focus on pinpointing the exact start and length parameters. This precision not only speeds up data retrieval but also ensures you're working with the most relevant data segments for your analysis.

Using LIKE Function for Strategic String Matching

The LIKE function is essential for pattern matching in SQL queries, allowing you to search for a specified pattern within a column. Strategic use of this function can significantly refine data selection, improving query flexibility and enhancing query performance.


column_name LIKE 'pattern'


SELECT * FROM table_name WHERE column_name LIKE '%pattern%'

retrieves all records where column_name contains 'pattern', enabling precise filtering based on specific character sequences.

In this example:

  • “SELECT * FROM table_name” shows everything from "table_name".
  • “WHERE column_name LIKE '%pattern%'” only show records if "column_name" contains "pattern" in its text, with anything before or after it.

You get all records where "column_name" has "pattern" in it, making it easy to filter for specific information without needing the exact details.

Handling NULLs with COALESCE and IFNULL in String Functions

NULL values can complicate data analysis. Utilize COALESCE and IFNULL functions to provide default values for NULLs, ensuring your data remains robust and analysis-ready. This approach maintains data integrity and supports more consistent data manipulation and reporting.

COALESCE function

The COALESCE function is used to return the first non-NULL value from a list of arguments:


COALESCE(value1, value2, ..., valueN)

Example: If you have 

COALESCE(NULL, NULL, "hello", "world")

it returns "hello". This function is particularly useful for substituting NULL values with a default value, ensuring that your data remains intact for analysis without gaps.

IFNULL function

The IFNULL function provides an alternative value for NULL by checking the first expression; if it is NULL, it returns the second expression:


IFNULL(expression, alternative_value)


IFNULL(NULL, "default")

 yields "default". This is handy for columns that may contain NULL values, allowing you to seamlessly replace them with a predetermined default, thus maintaining the consistency and integrity of your dataset for more reliable manipulation and reporting.

Applying String Functions in WHERE Clauses for Precise Data Filtering

Incorporate string functions in WHERE clauses to filter datasets more effectively. This method allows for dynamic data querying, enabling you to extract precise information based on complex criteria. It's a powerful strategy for refining data analysis and enhancing query efficiency. The example mentioned above can be used as a great example to learn.

Combining Concatenation with String Functions for Enhanced Efficiency

Maximize data manipulation efficiency by combining CONCAT with other string functions. This technique allows for sophisticated data structuring and preparation, streamlining data analysis processes. It's handy in crafting formatted strings and aggregating information from multiple data sources.

Addressing Length with LENGTH, BYTE_LENGTH, and CHAR_LENGTH

Understanding the differences between LENGTH, BYTE_LENGTH, and CHAR_LENGTH is crucial for accurate data manipulation. Use these functions to gauge string lengths effectively, ensuring compatibility with data storage and processing requirements. This knowledge is key to optimizing database performance and data quality.

LENGTH function

The LENGTH function calculates the number of characters in a string.





returns 5, indicating the string "hello" consists of 5 characters. This function is essential for understanding the size of your data, particularly when determining field sizes or truncating strings.

BYTE_LENGTH function

The BYTE_LENGTH function measures the length of a string in bytes, which is crucial for data that includes multibyte characters (like UTF-8).





yields a value depending on the encoding; for UTF-8, if "hello" consists of simple Latin characters, it also returns 5. However, for characters that occupy more than one byte, the byte length will be greater than the character count, helping manage data storage efficiently.

CHAR_LENGTH function

The CHAR_LENGTH function counts the number of characters in a string, similar to LENGTH, but is explicitly designed to handle character length, making it ideal for character-based data manipulation.





returns 5, directly counting each character in the string "hello". This function is particularly useful in databases or environments where character length is a more relevant measure than byte size, ensuring accurate string manipulation and storage allocation.

Utilizing String Functions for Effective Data Cleaning

String functions are essential tools for data cleaning, allowing for the trimming, formatting, and correction of textual data. Regular use of these functions can significantly improve data quality, making your datasets more reliable and analysis more accurate.

Avoiding Overuse of String Manipulation for Clarity

While string functions are powerful, overusing them can lead to decreased query performance. Aim for a balance in string manipulation, ensuring that operations are necessary and efficient. This approach minimizes processing time and resource usage, keeping your database optimized.


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Resolving Common Issues with BigQuery String Functions

Encountering errors? We cover common pitfalls like syntax mishaps, case sensitivity, string length issues, and more, providing you with the know-how to debug efficiently.

Function Syntax Errors

Common Issue: Function syntax errors occur when there's a mistake in how a function is written or called, such as incorrect use of parentheses, missing arguments, or misplacement of commas, leading to failure in execution.

Incorrect function syntax can lead to errors such as ‘Error: Function not found or Syntax error: Unexpected keyword STRING at [line].’

Advice: Ensure function names are correctly spelled, and parameters are in the correct order. For example, SUBSTR requires the format SUBSTR(string, start, length). Correct syntax prevents these errors and enhances query performance.

Case Sensitivity Issues

Common Issue: Case sensitivity errors arise when the distinction between uppercase and lowercase letters in identifiers, variables, or data values leads to unexpected results or failures in operations, especially in programming and database environments where case matters.

It usually shows - ‘Error: No matching signature for operator = for argument types: STRING, STRING. Consider adding explicit type casts.’

Advice: BigQuery is case-sensitive in string comparisons. Normalize the case using LOWER() or UPPER() functions to avoid mismatches, ensuring 'ABC' and 'abc' are treated equivalently.

String Lengths Errors

Common Issue: String length errors can occur when the number of characters in a string exceeds the maximum length allowed by the database or programming language's data type or when encoding differences

It typically shows - ‘Error: String length exceeds allowed limit’. or ‘Error: Substring index out of bounds.’

Advice: Use the LENGTH() function to monitor and manage string sizes, preventing errors related to exceeding maximum lengths or extracting beyond a string's length.

Trimming Functions Errors

Common Issue: Trimming function errors can happen when attempting to remove whitespace or specific characters from a string's start or end incorrectly, possibly due to specifying the wrong characters or using the function in an unsupported context.

It shows the following - ‘Error: Incorrect arguments to TRIM/LTRIM/RTRIM.’

Advice: Specify the character to trim explicitly if it's not a whitespace. Understanding the behavior of trimming functions prevents unexpected data formatting issues.

Regular Expression Challenges

Common Issue: Problems arise when regular expressions are improperly constructed, leading to matches that are either too broad, missing intended targets, or causing unexpected behavior.

In this situation, it shows - ‘Error: Invalid regular expression pattern or Error: RE2: pattern too large - compilation failed.’

Advice: Regular expressions are powerful but complex. Use online testers for debugging and ensure patterns are specific. Tools like REGEXP_REPLACE and REGEXP_EXTRACT require precise patterns for effective string manipulation.

Extracting Substrings

Common Issue: Errors occur when substring extraction functions misinterpret start or length parameters, resulting in incorrect or unintended portions of strings being retrieved.

Therefore, it shows - ‘Error: Substring index out of bounds.’

Advice: Ensure precise indices and patterns when using SUBSTR, LEFT, RIGHT, or REGEXP_EXTRACT for substring extraction. Accuracy is crucial to maintain data integrity and avoid parsing errors.

Logical Errors in Queries

Common Issue: These errors happen when the logic of a database query does not correctly reflect the intended operation or outcome, leading to inaccurate or incomplete data retrieval. This doesn't have a specific error message, but the query returns incorrect or unexpected results.

Advice: Verify your query's logic, especially in complex CASE statements or when using conditional functions like IF and COALESCE. Testing with known datasets can help uncover and correct logical flaws.

From Insights to Integration

Our journey through the capabilities of BigQuery's string functions sheds light on their significant role in data handling. With these tools, the process of analyzing data goes beyond simple manipulation, enabling a deeper understanding and facilitating better decision-making.

Through practical examples and recommended practices, you can see how your data can evolve into valuable insights. The combination of BigQuery's efficiency and these string functions simplifies complex data tasks, making it easier for you to derive meaningful conclusions from your data.

      Enhance Your Knowledge with Additional BigQuery Functions

      If you're looking to enhance your Google Bigquery capabilities, consider diving deeper into mastering  these advanced functions.

      • Date Functions: In BigQuery, date functions allow you to manipulate and format date and time values for detailed temporal analysis.

      • Conversion Functions: Conversion functions in BigQuery help convert data types from one form to another, ensuring data compatibility and ease of analysis.

      • Array Functions: BigQuery's array functions let you process and manipulate arrays within your datasets, facilitating complex data operations.

      • Aggregate Functions: Use aggregate functions in BigQuery to compute summarized values from your data, essential for statistical analysis.

      • Numbering Functions: These functions assign unique or ranked numbers to rows in a result set, enabling the ordering and partitioning of data.

      • Timestamp Functions: Timestamp functions let you work with precise time values, including operations like extracting specific components and calculating time differences.

      • Navigation Functions: Navigation functions provide access to values in other rows without the need for self-joins, helping to lead or lag data within partitions.

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      • How to extract a string in BigQuery?

        To extract a string in BigQuery, you can use functions like SUBSTR, REGEXP_EXTRACT, or REGEXP_EXTRACT_ALL. 

        For instance, SUBSTR('example string', 1, 7) would return 'example'. 

        With REGEXP_EXTRACT, you can extract patterns, e.g., REGEXP_EXTRACT('foo123', '([a-zA-Z]+)') would return 'foo'.

      • What is a string function in SQL?

        A string function in SQL is a function designed to perform operations on string data types. These operations can include manipulating, formatting, searching, and comparing strings within a database. Functions like CONCAT, TRIM, SUBSTR, and UPPER are common examples, each serving a specific purpose to manipulate string data.
      • How to use STRING_AGG in BigQuery?

        STRING_AGG in BigQuery concatenates values within a group into a single string with a specified separator. 

        For example, STRING_AGG(name, ', ') would combine name values in a group separated by commas. It's particularly useful in aggregating texts from multiple rows into a single summary string.

      • How do you find a character in a string in BigQuery?

        In BigQuery, to find a character or substring within a string, you can use:

        STRPOS(): Finds the position of a substring within a string, returning the position starting from 1. If not found, returns 0.

        Example: SELECT STRPOS('hello world', 'o') AS position; returns 5, indicating 'o' is at position 5.

        REGEXP_CONTAINS(): Uses regular expressions to check if a string contains a pattern, returning TRUE if the pattern is found.

        Example: SELECT REGEXP_CONTAINS('hello world', r'o') AS match_found; returns TRUE, indicating 'o' is present in the string.

        STRPOS() is straightforward for exact matches, while REGEXP_CONTAINS() offers flexibility for complex patterns.

      • What is the difference between ARRAY_AGG and STRING_AGG?

        ARRAY_AGG aggregates values into an array, while STRING_AGG concatenates values into a string. ARRAY_AGG is useful when you want to preserve individual element integrity for further processing, whereas STRING_AGG is ideal for creating a readable, delimited string from multiple row values.
      • How to use STRING_AGG with group by in SQL?

        Using STRING_AGG with GROUP BY allows you to concatenate strings from different rows into a single string within grouped data. 


        SELECT grouping_column, STRING_AGG(value_column, 'separator') FROM table_name GROUP BY grouping_column. 

        This aggregates the value_column for each group defined by grouping_column.

      • What is the return type of STRING_AGG?

        The return type of STRING_AGG is a string. It combines multiple input string values from a group into a single string with a specified separator, returning this concatenated result as its output.
      • How many string functions are there in SQL?

        The exact number of string functions in SQL can vary between database systems due to different implementations and extensions. Standard SQL includes a core set of string functions like LENGTH, SUBSTRING, UPPER, LOWER, and TRIM, among others. Database systems like MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server extend this list with additional functions tailored to their platforms, leading to dozens of string-related functions available to developers and analysts for data manipulation.

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