How do I order the results of a Union query in Oracle SQL?

Posted on 2014-10-02
Last Modified: 2014-10-02
Hi, I'm trying to run a simple select statement. Or at least, I THOUGHT it would be simple...
Here's the code:
select * from 
(select email from contact 
select email from vendor_contact
order by email

Open in new window

I was hoping to get the two lists of email addresses, combined and sorted in alphabetical order.
But no matter what I've tried, the result is not ordered properly - the result always appears as though I hadn't entered any 'ORDER BY' statement at all!
The result lists the contact email addresses from A to Z, then the Vendor_contact email addresses from A to Z.
Can anybody tell me what I'm doing wrong please? I'm using Oracle 11gR2, in case that matters.

Thank you!
Question by:vistamed
  • 3
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LVL 76

Accepted Solution

slightwv (䄆 Netminder) earned 500 total points
ID: 40356766
What you posted should be correct.

The only thing I can think of is the case.  A lower case a is different than an upper case A.

Maybe try:
order by lower(email)

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40356827
Hi slightwv,
Thank you! You gave me the correct answer despite me being stupid and asking the wrong question...

The resulting list I was getting was NOT the contact list A-Z, followed by the vendor_contact list A-Z.

What it actually was, was:


So as far as Oracle is concerned, Capital B comes before small A when it comes to sorting!
I would have expected it to sort like this:
But in fact it sorts like this:

Which is a bit daft in my book, but at least now I know!

So when I change the code to
select * from 
select lower(email) blah from contact 
select lower(email) blah from vendor_contact 
order by blah

Open in new window

then I get the nicely ordered list I was hoping for.

Thank you and sorry for the misleading information in the original question!
LVL 142

Expert Comment

by:Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]
ID: 40356834
I confirm it should be correct, though I would use UNION ALL eventually, unless you want to explicitly have duplicates to be removed
but this should not influence the ordering

so the issue must be on some other "place"... either you don't show "all" of it, or it's in the data, things like leading spaces or case sensitive issue...
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Author Comment

ID: 40356838
Hi Guy,  you're right, it was in some other place. My apologies for the information in the original question being incorrect. Sorry!
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 40356839
No problem.  I figured it was a case issue.

I would probably still move the lower to the order by like my example and leave the email addresses as they were provided.

>>So as far as Oracle is concerned, Capital B comes before small A when it comes to sorting!

Actually it is ASCII not Oracle.  Any system will sort that way.

Author Comment

ID: 40356862
Hi slightwv,
oh dear, I'm fairly showing my ignorance to the world today, aren't I...? embarrassed...Thanks for not pointing and laughing! :)
And thanks for making me realise that you can use functions like LOWER in an ORDER BY statement too. Every day's a school day for me!
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:slightwv (䄆 Netminder)
ID: 40356868
lol...  No problem.  We've ALL had these types of moments...

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