Categories:

Conditional Expression Functions

IS [ NOT ] DISTINCT FROM

Compares whether two expressions are equal (or not equal). The function is NULL-safe, meaning it treats NULLs as known values for comparing equality. Note that this is different from the EQUAL comparison operator (=), which treats NULLs as unknown values.

See also:

EQUAL_NULL

Syntax

<expr1> IS [ NOT ] DISTINCT FROM <expr2>

Usage Notes

  • The value returned depends on whether any of the inputs are NULL values:

    Returns TRUE
    <null> IS NOT DISTINCT FROM <null>
    <null> IS DISTINCT FROM <not_null>
    <not_null> IS DISTINCT FROM <null>
    Returns FALSE
    <null> IS DISTINCT FROM <null>
    <null> IS NOT DISTINCT FROM <not_null>
    <not_null> IS NOT DISTINCT FROM <null>

    Otherwise:

    <expr1> IS DISTINCT FROM <expr2> is equivalent to <expr1> != <expr2>
    <expr1> IS NOT DISTINCT FROM <expr2> is equivalent to <expr1> = <expr2>

For more details, see the examples below.

Examples

Create a table with simple data:

CREATE OR REPLACE TABLE x (i number);
INSERT INTO x values
    (1), 
    (2), 
    (null);

Show the Cartesian Product generated by joining the table to itself without a filter:

SELECT x1.i x1_i, x2.i x2_i 
    FROM x x1, x x2
    ORDER BY x1.i, x2.i;
+------+------+
| X1_I | X2_I |
|------+------|
|    1 |    1 |
|    1 |    2 |
|    1 | NULL |
|    2 |    1 |
|    2 |    2 |
|    2 | NULL |
| NULL |    1 |
| NULL |    2 |
| NULL | NULL |
+------+------+

Return rows that contain:

  • Only equal values for both columns.

  • Only equal values or NULL values for both columns.

SELECT x1.i x1_i, x2.i x2_i 
    FROM x x1, x x2 
    WHERE x1.i=x2.i;
+------+------+
| X1_I | X2_I |
|------+------|
|    1 |    1 |
|    2 |    2 |
+------+------+
SELECT x1.i x1_i, x2.i x2_i 
    FROM x x1, x x2 
    WHERE x1.i IS NOT DISTINCT FROM x2.i
    ORDER BY x1.i;
+------+------+
| X1_I | X2_I |
|------+------|
|    1 |    1 |
|    2 |    2 |
| NULL | NULL |
+------+------+

Illustrate all possible outcomes for:

  • EQUAL = and NOT EQUAL <>

  • IS NOT DISTINCT FROM and IS DISTINCT FROM

SELECT x1.i x1_i, 
       x2.i x2_i,
       x1.i=x2.i, 
       iff(x1.i=x2.i, 'Selected', 'Not') "SELECT IF X1.I=X2.I",
       x1.i<>x2.i, 
       iff(not(x1.i=x2.i), 'Selected', 'Not') "SELECT IF X1.I<>X2.I"
    FROM x x1, x x2;
+------+------+-----------+---------------------+------------+----------------------+
| X1_I | X2_I | X1.I=X2.I | SELECT IF X1.I=X2.I | X1.I<>X2.I | SELECT IF X1.I<>X2.I |
|------+------+-----------+---------------------+------------+----------------------|
|    1 |    1 | True      | Selected            | False      | Not                  |
|    1 |    2 | False     | Not                 | True       | Selected             |
|    1 | NULL | NULL      | Not                 | NULL       | Not                  |
|    2 |    1 | False     | Not                 | True       | Selected             |
|    2 |    2 | True      | Selected            | False      | Not                  |
|    2 | NULL | NULL      | Not                 | NULL       | Not                  |
| NULL |    1 | NULL      | Not                 | NULL       | Not                  |
| NULL |    2 | NULL      | Not                 | NULL       | Not                  |
| NULL | NULL | NULL      | Not                 | NULL       | Not                  |
+------+------+-----------+---------------------+------------+----------------------+
SELECT x1.i x1_i, x2.i x2_i,
               x1.i IS NOT DISTINCT FROM x2.i, iff(x1.i IS NOT DISTINCT FROM x2.i, 'Selected', 'Not') "SELECT IF X1.I IS NOT DISTINCT FROM X2.I",
               x1.i IS DISTINCT FROM x2.i, iff(x1.i IS DISTINCT FROM x2.i, 'Selected', 'Not') "SELECT IF X1.I IS DISTINCT FROM X2.I"
        FROM x x1, x x2
        ORDER BY x1.i, x2.i;
+------+------+--------------------------------+------------------------------------------+----------------------------+--------------------------------------+
| X1_I | X2_I | X1.I IS NOT DISTINCT FROM X2.I | SELECT IF X1.I IS NOT DISTINCT FROM X2.I | X1.I IS DISTINCT FROM X2.I | SELECT IF X1.I IS DISTINCT FROM X2.I |
|------+------+--------------------------------+------------------------------------------+----------------------------+--------------------------------------|
|    1 |    1 | True                           | Selected                                 | False                      | Not                                  |
|    1 |    2 | False                          | Not                                      | True                       | Selected                             |
|    1 | NULL | False                          | Not                                      | True                       | Selected                             |
|    2 |    1 | False                          | Not                                      | True                       | Selected                             |
|    2 |    2 | True                           | Selected                                 | False                      | Not                                  |
|    2 | NULL | False                          | Not                                      | True                       | Selected                             |
| NULL |    1 | False                          | Not                                      | True                       | Selected                             |
| NULL |    2 | False                          | Not                                      | True                       | Selected                             |
| NULL | NULL | True                           | Selected                                 | False                      | Not                                  |
+------+------+--------------------------------+------------------------------------------+----------------------------+--------------------------------------+