ALL, ANY and SOME Comparison Conditions in SQL

It is quite possible you could work with Oracle databases for many years and never come across the ALL, ANY and SOME comparison conditions in SQL because there are alternatives to them that are used more regularly. If you are planning to sit the Oracle Database SQL Expert (1Z0-047) exam you should be familiar with these conditions as they are used frequently in the questions.

All you need to know for the exam is the usage and characteristics of these comparison conditions. The article also includes information about the transformations the optimizer does when processing them. This extra information is not a requirement for the exam, but goes some way to explaining why you rarely see people using the conditions. Each of the SQL statements will be run against the "SCOTT.EMP" table to show the transformations are equivalent.

SQL> SELECT * FROM emp;

     EMPNO ENAME      JOB	       MGR HIREDATE		       SAL	 COMM	  DEPTNO
---------- ---------- --------- ---------- -------------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
      7369 SMITH      CLERK	      7902 17-DEC-1980 00:00:00        800		      20
      7499 ALLEN      SALESMAN	      7698 20-FEB-1981 00:00:00       1600	  300	      30
      7521 WARD       SALESMAN	      7698 22-FEB-1981 00:00:00       1250	  500	      30
      7566 JONES      MANAGER	      7839 02-APR-1981 00:00:00       2975		      20
      7654 MARTIN     SALESMAN	      7698 28-SEP-1981 00:00:00       1250	 1400	      30
      7698 BLAKE      MANAGER	      7839 01-MAY-1981 00:00:00       2850		      30
      7782 CLARK      MANAGER	      7839 09-JUN-1981 00:00:00       2450		      10
      7788 SCOTT      ANALYST	      7566 19-APR-1987 00:00:00       3000		      20
      7839 KING       PRESIDENT 	   17-NOV-1981 00:00:00       5000		      10
      7844 TURNER     SALESMAN	      7698 08-SEP-1981 00:00:00       1500	    0	      30
      7876 ADAMS      CLERK	      7788 23-MAY-1987 00:00:00       1100		      20
      7900 JAMES      CLERK	      7698 03-DEC-1981 00:00:00        950		      30
      7902 FORD       ANALYST	      7566 03-DEC-1981 00:00:00       3000		      20
      7934 MILLER     CLERK	      7782 23-JAN-1982 00:00:00       1300		      10

SQL>

ALL

The ALL comparison condition is used to compare a value to a list or subquery. It must be preceded by =, !=, >, <, <=, >= and followed by a list or subquery.

When the ALL condition is followed by a list, the optimizer expands the initial condition to all elements of the list and strings them together with AND operators, as shown below.

SELECT empno, sal
FROM   emp
WHERE  sal > ALL (2000, 3000, 4000);

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7839       5000

SQL>

-- Transformed to equivalent statement without ALL.

SELECT empno, sal
FROM   emp
WHERE  sal > 2000 AND sal > 3000 AND sal > 4000;

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7839       5000

SQL>

When the ALL condition is followed by a subquery, the optimizer performs a two-step transformation as shown below.

SELECT e1.empno, e1.sal
FROM   emp e1
WHERE  e1.sal > ALL (SELECT e2.sal
                     FROM   emp e2
                     WHERE  e2.deptno = 20);

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7839       5000

SQL>

-- Transformed to equivalent statement using ANY.

SELECT e1.empno, e1.sal
FROM   emp e1
WHERE  NOT (e1.sal <= ANY (SELECT e2.sal
                           FROM emp e2
                           WHERE e2.deptno = 20));

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7839       5000

SQL>

-- Transformed to equivalent statement without ANY.

SELECT e1.empno, e1.sal
FROM   emp e1
WHERE  NOT EXISTS (SELECT e2.sal
                   FROM emp e2
                   WHERE e2.deptno = 20
                   AND   e1.sal <= e2.sal);

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7839       5000

SQL>

Assuming subqueries don't return zero rows, the following statements can be made for both list and subquery versions:/p>

If a subquery returns zero rows, the condition evaluates to TRUE.

SELECT e1.empno, e1.sal
FROM   emp e1
WHERE  e1.sal > ALL (SELECT e2.sal FROM emp e2 WHERE e2.deptno = 100);

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7369        800
      7900        950
      7876       1100
      7521       1250
      7654       1250
      7934       1300
      7844       1500
      7499       1600
      7782       2450
      7698       2850
      7566       2975
      7788       3000
      7902       3000
      7839       5000

SQL>

ANY

The ANY comparison condition is used to compare a value to a list or subquery. It must be preceded by =, !=, >, <, <=, >= and followed by a list or subquery.

When the ANY condition is followed by a list, the optimizer expands the initial condition to all elements of the list and strings them together with OR operators, as shown below.

SELECT empno, sal
FROM   emp
WHERE  sal > ANY (2000, 3000, 4000);

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7566       2975
      7698       2850
      7782       2450
      7788       3000
      7839       5000
      7902       3000

SQL>

-- Transformed to equivalent statement without ANY.

SELECT empno, sal
FROM   emp
WHERE  sal > 2000 OR sal > 3000 OR sal > 4000;

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7566       2975
      7698       2850
      7782       2450
      7788       3000
      7839       5000
      7902       3000

SQL>

When the ANY condition is followed by a subquery, the optimizer performs a single transformation as shown below.

SELECT e1.empno, e1.sal
FROM   emp e1
WHERE  e1.sal > ANY (SELECT e2.sal
                     FROM   emp e2
                     WHERE  e2.deptno = 10);

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7839       5000
      7902       3000
      7788       3000
      7566       2975
      7698       2850
      7782       2450
      7499       1600
      7844       1500

SQL>

-- Transformed to equivalent statement without ANY.

SELECT e1.empno, e1.sal
FROM   emp e1
WHERE  EXISTS (SELECT e2.sal
               FROM emp e2
               WHERE e2.deptno = 10
               AND   e1.sal > e2.sal);

     EMPNO        SAL
---------- ----------
      7839       5000
      7902       3000
      7788       3000
      7566       2975
      7698       2850
      7782       2450
      7499       1600
      7844       1500

SQL>

Assuming subqueries don't return zero rows, the following statements can be made for both list and subquery versions:

If a subquery returns zero rows, the condition evaluates to FALSE.

SELECT e1.empno, e1.sal
FROM   emp e1
WHERE  e1.sal > ANY (SELECT e2.sal FROM emp e2 WHERE e2.deptno = 100);

no rows selected

SQL> 

SOME

The SOME and ANY comparison conditions do exactly the same thing and are completely interchangeable.

For more information see:

Hope this helps. Regards Tim...

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