Understanding String Constants in PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a widely used open source relational database management system that can store and manipulate various types of data, including strings. A string is a sequence of characters that represents text data, such as names, addresses, messages, etc. In this article, we will learn how to use string constants in PostgreSQL, which are fixed values that cannot be modified once they are defined.

A string constant in PostgreSQL is written as a sequence of characters enclosed by single quotes (‘), for example:

'This is a string constant'

This is also known as a literal value, because it is written literally as it is. To include a single-quote character within a string constant, we have two options:

  • Write two adjacent single quotes, e.g. 'It''s a sunny day'
  • Escape the single quote with a backslash, e.g. 'It\'s a sunny day'

Note that the second option is specific to PostgreSQL and may not work in other SQL dialects. Also, note that a double-quote character (“) is not the same as a single-quote character and does not need to be escaped. A double-quote character is used to enclose identifiers, such as table names or column names, e.g. "My Table".

String constants can be used in various contexts in PostgreSQL, such as:

  • Assigning values to variables or constants
  • Passing arguments to functions or operators
  • Comparing values with operators or predicates
  • Returning values from queries or expressions

Some examples of using string constants in PostgreSQL are:

  • Declaring a variable named NAME and printing its value:
DO $$
  NAME TEXT := 'Alice';
END $$;
  • Replacing a substring within a string constant with the replace function:
SELECT replace('PostgreSQL is awesome', 'awesome', 'great') AS result;
  • Checking if a string constant matches a regular expression with the ~ operator:
SELECT 'abc123' ~ '[a-z]+[0-9]+' AS result;
  • Converting a string constant to a date with the to_date function:
SELECT to_date('2023-11-30', 'YYYY-MM-DD') AS result;
  • Extracting the first word from a string constant with the split_part function:
SELECT split_part('Hello, world!', ' ', 1) AS result;


We have learned how to write string constants with single quotes, how to escape single quotes within string constants, and how to use string constants in various contexts, such as assigning values, passing arguments, comparing values, and returning values. We have also seen some examples of using string functions and operators on string constants to manipulate and transform them. String constants are useful for storing and processing text data in PostgreSQL.

Thank you for reading.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.