LIMIT Clause in PostgreSQL

How to Navigate Large Datasets with the LIMIT Clause in PostgreSQL with Examples

👋 Hello again, SQL enthusiasts! Today, let’s discuss another super useful tool in your SQL arsenal—the LIMIT clause. Perfect for handling large datasets, LIMIT is your go-to for making sure you only retrieve the exact amount of records you need. Let’s get into it!

What is the LIMIT Clause?

The LIMIT clause in PostgreSQL allows you to constrain the number of rows returned by a query. Whether you want just a taste of your data or you’re avoiding overwhelming your application with too much information, LIMIT can help.

Basic Syntax

The syntax for LIMIT is super simple:

SELECT column1, column2 FROM table_name LIMIT number_of_rows;

Example: Limiting Data from the tv_series Table

Remember our tv_series table filled with all sorts of shows? Suppose we want to see just the first five entries. Here’s how to do it:

Using LIMIT to Fetch the First 5 Records

SELECT name, genre FROM tv_series LIMIT 5;
name genre
Breaking Bad Crime
Stranger Things Science Fiction
The Crown Historical Drama
Game of Thrones Fantasy
Friends Comedy

Common Flags and Usage Patterns


LIMIT can also be combined with the OFFSET clause to skip a certain number of rows before beginning to return the rows:

SELECT name, genre FROM tv_series LIMIT 5 OFFSET 10;

This query will skip the first 10 records and then return the next 5.

Combining LIMIT with ORDER BY

The LIMIT clause is often used with the ORDER BY clause to get the top or bottom N records:

SELECT name, seasons FROM tv_series ORDER BY seasons DESC LIMIT 3;

Common Errors and Solutions

Error Message:

ERROR: LIMIT #, # syntax not supported


You’ve likely used a syntax that PostgreSQL doesn’t support for LIMIT.


  • Use the OFFSET keyword if you need to skip a certain number of rows.

Error Message:

ERROR: syntax error at or near "LIMIT"


You’ve probably made a syntax error around the LIMIT keyword.


  • Double-check your query syntax to make sure you’ve placed LIMIT correctly and didn’t miss any essential keywords or punctuation.

And there you go! With LIMIT in your toolbox, you’re well-equipped to navigate even the largest datasets, fetching just the right amount of data you need. So go on, give your queries a limit and take control of your data! 🌟 Until next time, happy querying! 🚀

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