List of faculty members who are born on sunday, the size of day is 9 characters long

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select firstname, lastname, birth_date
from project.faculty
where TO_CHAR(birth_date,'Sun') = 'Jan'

I need help and everything I try does not work.

Assuming birth_date is a DATE data type:

TO_CHAR function: TO_CHAR(datetime, format)

select firstname, lastname, birth_date from project.faculty where TO_CHAR(birth_date,'DY') = 'Sun'

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Why do you store dates into a varchar2 column ("size of day is 9 characters long")? Bad, bad idea.

SQL> with faculty (first_name, last_name, birth_date) as
  2    (select 'Little', 'Foot', '23-07-2013' from dual union all
  3     select 'Big'   , 'Foot', '01-12-2019' from dual
  4    )
  5  select first_name, last_name, birth_date,
  6    to_char(to_date(birth_date, 'dd-mm-yyyy'), 'dy') day
  7  from faculty
  8  where to_char(to_date(birth_date, 'dd-mm-yyyy'), 'dy') = 'sun';

------ ---- ---------- ------------
Big    Foot 01-12-2019 sun


If birth date was a date (as it should be), then it gets somewhat simpler:

  5  select first_name, last_name, birth_date,
  6    to_char(birth_date, 'dy') day
  7  from faculty
  8  where to_char(birth_date, 'dy') = 'sun';

------ ---- ---------- ------------
Big    Foot 2019-12-01 sun


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Oracle Setup:

CREATE TABLE faculty ( firstname, lastname, birth_date ) AS
SELECT 'Alice',     'Adams',   DATE '2019-01-01' FROM DUAL UNION ALL
SELECT 'Betty',     'Burns',   DATE '2019-01-02' FROM DUAL UNION ALL
SELECT 'Carol',     'Charles', DATE '2019-01-03' FROM DUAL UNION ALL
SELECT 'Denise',    'Daniels', DATE '2019-01-04' FROM DUAL UNION ALL
SELECT 'Erin',      'Edwards', DATE '2019-01-05' FROM DUAL UNION ALL
SELECT 'Frances',   'Firth',   DATE '2019-01-06' FROM DUAL UNION ALL
SELECT 'Gabriella', 'Gambon',  DATE '2019-01-07' FROM DUAL;

Query 1 - DAY format model:

If you use TO_DATE( birth_date, 'DAY' ) then the result will be a fixed-length string. WEDNESDAY is 9 characters and any other day will be right-padded with space characters to be the same length. So you want:

select firstname, lastname, birth_date
from   /*project.*/faculty
where  TO_CHAR( birth_date, 'DAY' ) = 'SUNDAY   ';

Query 2 - fmDAY format model:

To get rid of the trailing spaces you can use the fm format modifier:

select firstname, lastname, birth_date
from   /*project.*/faculty
where  TO_CHAR( birth_date, 'fmDAY' ) = 'SUNDAY';

Query 3 - DY format model:

You can compare on the abbreviated day that is the first 3 characters using the DY format model:

select firstname, lastname, birth_date
from   /*project.*/faculty
where  TO_CHAR( birth_date, 'DY' ) = 'SUN';

Query 4 - Specify the language you are using:

All the above queries will fail if the user changes the NLS settings (which all users can do in their own session any time they want) using something like:


To combat this, you can use the 3rd argument of TO_DATE to specify the NLS settings that you are expecting:

select firstname, lastname, birth_date
from   /*project.*/faculty
where  TO_CHAR( birth_date, 'DY', 'NLS_DATE_LANGUAGE=ENGLISH' ) = 'SUN';

Query 5 - TRUNC( date_value, 'IW' ) is independent of the NLS settings:

If you want a query that is entirely independent of any NLS settings then you can find the number of full days since the start of the iso-week:

select firstname, lastname, birth_date
from   /*project.*/faculty
where  TRUNC( birth_date ) - TRUNC( birth_date, 'IW' ) = 6;


All the above queries output:

:-------- | :------- | :---------
Frances   | Firth    | 06-JAN-19 

db<>fiddle here

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  • Hi Cam456, welcome to StackOverflow. "Everything I try does not work" could mean a number of things. Can you be more specific, and include any error message(s) you are getting?
  • All your dates are 10 characters long.
  • I have no idea what those "9 caracters" represent, @MT0. Could be anything. The idea is here, shouldn't be too difficult to apply desired format mask. At least, I hope so.