SQL statements consist of two fundamental components:
- Keywords: Words with specific meaning in SQL like
- Identifiers: Names for things like databases and some functions
Keywords make up SQL’s vocabulary and can have specific meaning in statements. Each SQL keyword that CockroachDB supports is on one of four lists:
Reserved keywords have fixed meanings and are not typically allowed as identifiers. All other types of keywords are considered non-reserved; they have special meanings in certain contexts and can be used as identifiers in other contexts.
Most users asking about keywords want to know more about them in terms of:
- Names of objects, covered on this page in Identifiers
- Syntax, covered in our pages SQL Statements and SQL Grammar
Identifiers are most commonly used as names of objects like databases, tables, or columns—because of this, the terms “name” and “identifier” are often used interchangeably. However, identifiers also have less-common uses, such as changing column labels with
Rules for Identifiers
In our SQL grammar, all values that accept an
- Begin with a Unicode letter or an underscore (_). Subsequent characters can be letters, underscores, digits (0-9), or dollar signs ($).
- Not equal any SQL keyword unless the keyword is accepted by the element’s syntax. For example,
nameaccepts Unreserved or Column Name keywords.
To bypass either of these rules, simply surround the identifier with double-quotes ("). However, all references to it must also include double-quotes.