Teradata LIKE – How to avoid unexpected Results!

Roland Wenzlofsky

April 30, 2019

minutes reading time

Have you ever noticed that the Teradata LIKE operator behaves differently depending on whether we apply it to a data type CHAR or VARCHAR column? Let us take the table below as an example:

TheVarchar VARCHAR(20),
TheChar CHAR(20)

We’re inserting precisely one row for our demonstration:

INSERT INTO TheLikeTest VALUES (‘Anytext’,’Anytext’);

First, we run the following SQL statement for the column of datatype VARCHAR:

SELECT TheVarchar FROM TheLikeTest WHERE TheVarchar LIKE ‘%t’;
-> Result: ‘Anytext’ (1 Row returned)

Next, we execute the same query on the column of data type CHAR:
SELECT TheChar FROM TheLikeTest WHERE TheChar LIKE ‘%t’;
-> Result: No rows returned

As we see, the second query does not return a result. How is that possible?

The solution to this puzzle is simple: Since it is a column of the data type CHAR, space characters are padded to 20 characters. Our query expects a ‘t’ at the end of the column content, but there is certainly a space character there!

How can this undesired behavior be avoided? Leave a comment with your solution!

  • Newbie question,

    Wouldn’t the padding be a left padding, instead of right padding?

  • Using trim function in the where clause? Though it will increase the cost.

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

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