Data Manipulation Language

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What Does Data Manipulation Language Mean?

A data manipulation language (DML) is a family of computer languages including commands permitting users to manipulate data in a database. This manipulation involves inserting data into database tables, retrieving existing data, deleting data from existing tables and modifying existing data. DML is mostly incorporated in SQL databases.

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Techopedia Explains Data Manipulation Language

DML resembles simple English language and enhances efficient user interaction with the system. The functional capability of DML is organized in manipulation commands like SELECT, UPDATE, INSERT INTO and DELETE FROM, as described below:

  • SELECT: This command is used to retrieve rows from a table. The syntax is SELECT [column name(s)] from [table name] where [conditions]. SELECT is the most widely used DML command in SQL.
  • UPDATE: This command modifies data of one or more records. An update command syntax is UPDATE [table name] SET [column name = value] where [condition].
  • INSERT: This command adds one or more records to a database table. The insert command syntax is INSERT INTO [table name] [column(s)] VALUES [value(s)].
  • DELETE: This command removes one or more records from a table according to specified conditions. Delete command syntax is DELETE FROM [table name] where [condition].
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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.