When dealing with databases, it's crucial to be able to handle and remove duplicates. The DISTINCT statement in MySQL serves precisely this purpose. This blog post will delve into the MySQL DISTINCT statement, providing an in-depth description, syntax, examples, and a summary of its application.


The DISTINCT keyword in MySQL is used to return unique or different values in a SELECT statement. When you have a column with duplicate entries and you want to retrieve only the unique ones, the DISTINCT keyword becomes quite useful.

 Note that the DISTINCT keyword considers a whole row as a unit and will not remove duplicates based on one column. If you want to remove duplicates based on a single column, you need to employ a different strategy like using the GROUP BY clause.


The basic syntax for the DISTINCT statement in MySQL is as follows:

SELECT DISTINCT column1, column2, ..., columnN 
FROM table_name;

In this syntax: 

column1, column2, ..., columnN: These are the names of the columns in the table from which you want to retrieve unique data.

 table_name: This is the name of the table you are selecting data from.

Demo Database

Continuing with our SchoolDB demonstration database, let's focus on the Students table, which includes student_idfirst_namelast_namegrade_level, and major_subject columns.


Here are some practical examples illustrating the use of the DISTINCT statement: 

Selecting DISTINCT Grades 

To retrieve a list of all unique grade_level entries in the Students table:

SELECT DISTINCT grade_level 
FROM Students;

Selecting DISTINCT combinations

To retrieve a list of unique grade_level and major_subject combinations in the Students table:

SELECT DISTINCT grade_level, major_subject 
FROM Students;
Note that this will return all unique combinations of grade_level and major_subject


The DISTINCT keyword in MySQL is a powerful tool for handling duplicate data, allowing you to retrieve unique values or combinations of values from your tables.

Whether you're trying to avoid redundancy in a report or seeking to gain insights from unique combinations of data, the DISTINCT keyword can help streamline your data operations and provide more meaningful results.

Remember that DISTINCT treats each row as a unit when eliminating duplicates. For removing duplicates based on a single column, consider using the GROUP BY clause instead.

Mastering the use of DISTINCT is a significant step towards becoming proficient in SQL and handling databases effectively. By providing a way to manage duplicates, DISTINCT helps ensure the clarity and reliability of your data-driven insights.