Maxim Gershkovich Maxim Gershkovich - 6 months ago 12
SQL Question

Not equal <> != operator on NULL

Could someone please explain the following behavior in SQL?

SELECT * FROM MyTable WHERE MyColumn != NULL (0 Results)
SELECT * FROM MyTable WHERE MyColumn <> NULL (0 Results)
SELECT * FROM MyTable WHERE MyColumn IS NOT NULL (568 Results)

Answer

<> is Standard SQL-92; != is its equivalent. Both evaluate for values, which NULL is not -- NULL is a placeholder to say there is the absence of a value.

Which is why you can only use IS NULL/IS NOT NULL as predicates for such situations.

This behavior is not specific to SQL Server. All standards-compliant SQL dialects work the same way.