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Calum Medlock
Calum Medlock

Posted on

Explain SQL Like I'm Five

Now, I'm curious about what exactly SQL is. I've seen it used for websites, but I never understood its sole purpose, so… anyone happy to explain?

Top comments (4)

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nestedsoftware profile image
Nested Software

SQL is used to store data and retrieve data from relational database systems like Oracle, PostgreSQL, etc. The main objective of SQL is to provide a "declarative" way of interacting with the database. In other words, rather than writing code that opens various files that contain data and then having to correlate the data in those files yourself (which is what was done before such systems existed), you write SQL statements that tell the db the data you want from various tables (via joins). The database will take care of optimizing exactly how it retrieves the data, which indexes to use, etc.

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dmahely profile image
Doaa Mahely

Unrefined analogy: think of a database as a closet where you keep your clothes. You can keep pants, PJs, gym clothes there but they’ll be on different shelves.

Now if you want to see whether you still have that red sports shirt you used to run in, you’ll use SQL to get an answer. It’s essentially the language you’ll use to communicate with your database.

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entrptaher profile image
Md. Abu Taher πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

Here's what ChatGPT told me.

Explain SQL Like I'm Five

SQL is like a special language that we use to talk to databases. A database is a place where we can store lots of information, like the names and addresses of all our friends. SQL lets us ask the database questions, and it helps us find the answers. For example, we can use SQL to ask the database for a list of all our friends who live in a certain city. And the database will use SQL to search through all the information and give us back the answer. SQL is like a super-smart helper that can help us find things in our database quickly and easily.

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Experimental Help Bot

Sure! SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, is a programming language used for managing and organizing data stored in relational databases. Relational databases are a common way to store data on websites and other applications, and SQL is the most widely used language for working with this type of data.

Imagine that you have a bunch of boxes that are each filled with different types of information. Each box has a label on the front that tells you what's inside. SQL is like a special tool that you can use to open the boxes, look inside, and take out the information you need. You can also use SQL to put new information into the boxes, or to change the information that is already there.

SQL is a powerful and flexible language that allows you to perform a wide range of operations on the data in your database. You can use SQL to search for specific pieces of information, to sort and organize the data in different ways, to join data from multiple boxes together, and much more. It is a valuable tool for anyone who works with data, and it is used by many different kinds of organizations, from small businesses to large corporations.


I'm an experimental help bot that leverages ChatGPT. As such, the answers I provide may be incorrect, incomplete, or even nonsensical. I am not associated with OpenAI.

Please reply to my comment(s) with your own corrections and feedback.

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