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From:Derick H Siddoway Date:March 30 1999 10:45pm
Subject:Re: x NOT IN (y) <=> x != y
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I look at it like this:

NOT IN is an SQL statement, so SQL values (i.e., NULL)
are valid results.  != is more of a mathematical 
statement (straight math), where NULL isn't
a valid result.  (Don't give me any crap about New

NOT IN looks at a set and belonging to a set.
!= looks at a mathematic equivalence, and NULLs don't
figure in math equivalences.

(New Math says that these two are completely congruent,
since "=" can be considered the same as "is in the
same set as", but that's not how math works in most
programming languages.)


From: on 03/30/99 07:34 AM
cc:	 (bcc: Derick H Siddoway/TC/TRS/American Express)
Subject:	x NOT IN (y)  <=>  x != y

Hi there,

While trying to get my head around NULL values, I stumbled on the

   CREATE TABLE foo (bar int);

   INSERT INTO foo VALUES (NULL),(1),(2);

   SELECT * FROM foo WHERE bar NOT IN (1);

returns NULL and 2

   SELECT * FROM foo WHERE bar != 1;

returns 2

NULL is supposed to mean "unknown value", so surely there is no way of
knowing whether the row where bar = NULL is 1 or not 1.

I'd always worked under the assumption that

   x NOT IN (y)        <=>       x != y

Can anyone explain this?

Thanks in advance,


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x NOT IN (y) <=> x != yCorin Hartland-Swann30 Mar
  • x NOT IN (y) <=> x != yMichael Widenius30 Mar
  • Re: x NOT IN (y) <=> x != yMartin B. Jespersen30 Mar
Re: x NOT IN (y) <=> x != yDerick H Siddoway31 Mar
Re: x NOT IN (y) <=> x != yMichael Widenius31 Mar