what is wrong with this code -- sql query thru command object

this returns the error "Referenced object has a value of nothing" on the line rdr1 = cm1.executereader

I'm guessing it has to do with how I do parameters?

            c1 = New SqlConnection
            c1.ConnectionString = System.Configuration.ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings("Connection")

            cm1 = New SqlCommand
            cm1.CommandType = CommandType.Text
            cm1.Connection = c1
            cm1.CommandText = "SELECT desc [d] FROM table1_sql WHERE item = ? ORDER BY fn"
            cm1.Parameters.Add("@Desc", SqlDbType.Char, 15, txtItem.Text)
            rdr1 = cm1.ExecuteReader
            While rdr1.Read
                lstFtr.Items.Add(CType(rdr1("d"), String))
            End While


        Catch ex As Exception

        End Try
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g_johnsonAuthor Commented:
actually, the more i investigate the more i think it's a syntax error.

obviously i am doing something wrong when adding parameters, but i don't know what it is
Éric MoreauSenior .Net ConsultantCommented:
Hi g_johnson,

Is "desc" your field name? I think the problem lies there because "desc" is a reserved word (of the ORBER BY clause). Try putting it in square brakets like you did for the alias.

Éric MoreauSenior .Net ConsultantCommented:

and what happen if you don't use a parameter?  
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g_johnsonAuthor Commented:
if i don't use a parameter, i'm fine
g_johnsonAuthor Commented:
this is the actual line of code:
cm1.CommandText = "SELECT description_1 [d] FROM table1_sql WHERE item = ? ORDER BY fn"
and ex.message returns
"Line 1: Incorrect syntax near '?'."
Éric MoreauSenior .Net ConsultantCommented:
Does fn is a valid fieldname?

Try this:
cm1.CommandText = "SELECT desc [d] FROM table1_sql WHERE item = @Desc ORDER BY fn"

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g_johnsonAuthor Commented:
got it -- just before I read your answer.  Now I understand!   :-)

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