How to execute SQL statement that has a single quote in C# or insert a row with a value that has a quote?

Imagine you have a query such as the following:

SELECT * FROM User WHERE LastName='O'Conner'

INSERT INTO User (FirstName, LastName, UserName, Email) VALUES ('John','O'Conner','jo'conner','joconner@somedomain.tld')

Well, that is obviously not going to work, because the apostrophe or single quote in the name O’Conner is going to break the query syntax.

You have to have two single quotes to use a quote.

SELECT * FROM User WHERE LastName='O''Conner'

INSERT INTO User (FirstName, LastName, UserName, Email) VALUES ('John','O'Conner','jo''conner','joconner@somedomain.tld')

Ok, so there are two ways to make sure you have two quotes in C#:

  1. You manage the query string yourself.
  2. You use a DataTable and let it manage the query string for you.

Managing the query string yourself

Ok, the answer is simple. You need two single quotes next to each other.

Now, when you have single string, this is easy to do. You need to replace each instance of a single quote with two single quotes using this function which already exists for you:

string.replace(string inStringToBeReplaced, string inNewString)

Here is an example of doing it wrong, then fixing it. Step through this in a debugger.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;

namespace SingleQuoteInSQL
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            string FirstName = "John";
            string LastName  = "O'Conner";
            string UserName  = "joconner";
            string Email     = "joconner@domain.tld";

            // Both these queries are broken because of the space.
            string strQuery1 = "SELECT * FROM User WHERE LastName='" + LastName + "'";
            string strQuery2 = "INSERT INTO User (FirstName, LastName, UserName, Email) VALUES (" +
                        "'" + FirstName + "'," +
                        "'" + LastName + "'," +
                        "'" + UserName + "'," +
                        "'" + Email + "')";

            // This will actually break your query too, because it will replace valid single quotes
            // with two single quotes.  You need to do this on the actually data strings.
            strQuery1 = strQuery1.Replace("'", "''"); //
            strQuery2 = strQuery1.Replace("'", "''");

            // Replace any intance of a single quote with two single quotes, ''.
            // IMPORTANT: Typing two single quotes ('') is not the same as a double quote (").
            FirstName = FirstName.Replace("'", "''");
            LastName = LastName.Replace("'", "''");
            UserName = UserName.Replace("'", "''");
            Email = Email.Replace("'", "''");

            // Both these queries are working now;
            strQuery1 = "SELECT * FROM User WHERE LastName='" + LastName + "'";
            strQuery2 = "INSERT INTO User (FirstName, LastName, UserName, Email) VALUES (" +
                        "'" + FirstName + "'," +
                        "'" + LastName + "'," +
                        "'" + UserName + "'," +
                        "'" + Email + "')";
        }
    }
}

Using a DataTable to manage this for you automagically

This actually looks like more work at first, but really when handling a lot of data, it is much more easy to code using DataTables and DataRows.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Data;
using System.Data.SqlClient;

namespace SingleQuoteInSQL
{
    class Program
    {
        static void Main(string[] args)
        {
            string FirstName  = "John";
            string LastName  = "O'Conner";
            string UserName  = "joconner";
            string Email        = "joconner@domain.tld";

            // Create the connection
            string mConnectionString = "Data Source=ServerName; user id=UserName; password=pw; Initial Catalog=DatabaseName;";
            SqlConnection mSqlConnection = new SqlConnection(mConnectionString);

            // Create a data adapter, this is what does the magic.
            String mQueryForSqlDataAdapter = "Select * from TableName";
            SqlDataAdapter tmpSqlDataAdapter;
            SqlCommandBuilder tmpSqlCommandBuilder;
            DataTable tmpDataTable = new DataTable();
            tmpSqlDataAdapter = new SqlDataAdapter(mQueryForSqlDataAdapter, mSqlConnection);

            // Use the SqlDataAdapter to create a table with the right schema but no data
            tmpDataTable = tmpSqlDataAdapter.FillSchema(tmpDataTable, SchemaType.Mapped);

            // Create a SqlCommandBuilder
            tmpSqlCommandBuilder = new SqlCommandBuilder(tmpSqlDataAdapter);

            // Create a DataRow and populate it
            DataRow row = tmpDataTable.NewRow();
            row["FirstName"] = FirstName;
            row["LastName"] = LastName;
            row["UserName"] = UserName;
            row["Email"] = Email;

            // Add this row to the DataTable
            tmpDataTable.Rows.Add(row);

            // Write this to the database
            tmpSqlDataAdapter.Update(tmpDataTable);
        }
    }
}

Notice we didn’t have to do a string replace of ‘ for ”.

3 Comments

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