Escaping Bracket [ in a CONTAINS() clause?

How can I escape a bracket in a full-text SQL Server contains() query? I've tried all the following, none of which work:

CONTAINS(crev.RawText, 'arg[0]')
CONTAINS(crev.RawText, 'arg[[0]]')
CONTAINS(crev.RawText, 'arg\[0\]')

Using double quotes does work, but it forces the entire search to be a phrase, which is a showstopper for multiple word queries.

CONTAINS(crev.RawText, '"arg[0]"')

All I really want to do is escape the bracket, but I can't seem to do that..

Answers


You don't have to escape the [ as it has no special meaning in Full Text Search. If you do need to search for an exact match though, you can use "" marks.

Further, you can use multiple "" inside the single quotes:

CONTAINS('"word1" or "word2" or "word3"')

This also works:

CONTAINS('"word1" and "word2" and "word3"')

Anything put inside the double quotes is treated as exact text. Thus if I were to do a search of the Description field of the Production.ProductDescription table in AdventureWorks, I could use

CONTAINS('shifting and "on or off-road"') 

and it would find matches for the word shifting that also had the phrase "on or off-road".

The only special symbol is the ~, it can be used in place of the NEAR command.

CONTAINS('shifting ~ smooth')

is the same as

CONTAINS('shifting NEAR smooth')

and will find matches where the words shifting and smooth are near each other.


Not in the spirit of fulltext indexing apparently.

word

Is a string of characters without spaces or punctuation.

phrase

Is one or more words with spaces between each word.

And

Punctuation is ignored. Therefore, CONTAINS(testing, "computer failure") matches a row with the value, "Where is my computer? Failure to find it would be expensive."

I'm not sure what your options are.

Obviously LIKE works fine:

SELECT *
FROM dbo.stackoverflow_319730
WHERE txtcol LIKE 'arg[ [ ]0]'

But

SELECT *
FROM dbo.stackoverflow_319730
WHERE CONTAINS(txtcol, '"arg[0]"')

Even matches a column with 'arg[1]' in it, for instance:

CREATE TABLE [dbo].[stackoverflow_319730](
    [id] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
    [txtcol] [text] NOT NULL,
 CONSTRAINT [PK_stackoverflow_319730] PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED 
(
    [id] ASC
)WITH (PAD_INDEX  = OFF, STATISTICS_NORECOMPUTE  = OFF, IGNORE_DUP_KEY = OFF, ALLOW_ROW_LOCKS  = ON, ALLOW_PAGE_LOCKS  = ON) ON [PRIMARY]
) ON [PRIMARY] TEXTIMAGE_ON [PRIMARY]

INSERT INTO [dbo].[stackoverflow_319730] (txtcol) VALUES ('arg[0]')
INSERT INTO [dbo].[stackoverflow_319730] (txtcol) VALUES ('arg[1]')
INSERT INTO [dbo].[stackoverflow_319730] (txtcol) VALUES ('some other text')
INSERT INTO [dbo].[stackoverflow_319730] (txtcol) VALUES ('arg[0], arg[1]')

EXEC sp_fulltext_catalog   'FTCatalog','create'
EXEC sp_fulltext_table     'stackoverflow_319730', 'create', 'FTCatalog', 'pk_stackoverflow_319730' 
EXEC sp_fulltext_column    'stackoverflow_319730', 'txtcol', 'add' 
EXEC sp_fulltext_table     'stackoverflow_319730','activate' 
EXEC sp_fulltext_catalog   'FTCatalog', 'start_full' 

SELECT *
FROM dbo.stackoverflow_319730
WHERE txtcol LIKE 'arg[ [ ]0]'

SELECT *
FROM dbo.stackoverflow_319730
WHERE CONTAINS(txtcol, '"arg[0]"')

With results which hint at the problem with punctuation:

id          txtcol
----------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1           arg[0]

(1 row(s) affected)

id          txtcol
----------- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1           arg[0]
2           arg[1]
4           arg[0], arg[1]
Informational: The full-text search condition contained noise word(s).

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