Notational Conventions

The following notational conventions are used in Snowflake documentation.


In syntax and code descriptions, angle brackets (< >), square brackets ([ ]), curly braces ({ }), and vertical bars (|) are used for notational purposes only. To avoid syntax errors, do not include them when entering a command or writing code.

However, brackets and braces have specific meanings in JSON and XML, and therefore must be included when working with JSON or XML documents/data.

Syntax, Examples, and Text




All-uppercase indicates a Snowflake SQL command, keyword, parameter name, or function name.

item , item

All-lowercase indicates a user-supplied value for an identifier, parameter, or argument.

<item> , item

Angle brackets and italics indicate identifiers, parameters, or arguments that are provided by users.

( item1 item2 ... )

Parentheses are used in SQL to group parameters or arguments.

They are required when entering a command (i.e. they must be typed exactly as they appear).

{ item1 item2 ... }

Curly braces indicate groupings of identifiers, parameters, or arguments. They do not need to be entered.

[ ITEM ] , [ item1 item2 ... ]

Square brackets indicate optional parts of a statement. They do not need to be entered.

In many cases, items in the square brackets are optional because default values are provided.


A vertical bar indicates a choice between two or more items or values, usually within square brackets or curly braces. They do not need to be entered.




[ item1 ... ]

Square brackets are JSON array delimiters.

{ item1 item2 ... }

Curly braces are JSON object delimiters.

XML Data



<item> ... </item>

Angle brackets indicate the start or end of an XML element.