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Call these methods to generate a string that is suitable for use in a query as a literal value of the correct type, to make sure that you generate valid SQL and protect against SQL injection attacks.

Methods in other packages

This documentation page describes the generics. Refer to the documentation pages linked below for the documentation for the methods that are implemented in various backend packages.


dbQuoteLiteral(conn, x, ...)



A DBIConnection object, as returned by dbConnect().


A vector to quote as string.


Other arguments passed on to methods.


dbQuoteLiteral() returns an object that can be coerced to character, of the same length as the input. For an empty integer, numeric, character, logical, date, time, or blob vector, this function returns a length-0 object.

When passing the returned object again to dbQuoteLiteral()

as x

argument, it is returned unchanged. Passing objects of class SQL should also return them unchanged. (For backends it may be most convenient to return SQL objects to achieve this behavior, but this is not required.)

Failure modes

Passing a list for the x argument raises an error.


The returned expression can be used in a SELECT ... query, and the value of dbGetQuery(paste0("SELECT ", dbQuoteLiteral(x)))[[1]] must be equal to x for any scalar integer, numeric, string, and logical. If x is NA, the result must merely satisfy The literals "NA" or "NULL" are not treated specially.

NA should be translated to an unquoted SQL NULL, so that the query SELECT * FROM (SELECT 1) a WHERE ... IS NULL returns one row.


# Quoting ensures that arbitrary input is safe for use in a query
name <- "Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;--"
dbQuoteLiteral(ANSI(), name)
#> <SQL> 'Robert''); DROP TABLE Students;--'

# NAs become NULL
dbQuoteLiteral(ANSI(), c(1:3, NA))
#> <SQL> 1
#> <SQL> 2
#> <SQL> 3

# Logicals become integers by default
dbQuoteLiteral(ANSI(), c(TRUE, FALSE, NA))
#> <SQL> 1
#> <SQL> 0

# Raw vectors become hex strings by default
dbQuoteLiteral(ANSI(), list(as.raw(1:3), NULL))
#> <SQL> X'010203'

# SQL vectors are always passed through as is
var_name <- SQL("select")
#> <SQL> select
dbQuoteLiteral(ANSI(), var_name)
#> <SQL> select

# This mechanism is used to prevent double escaping
dbQuoteLiteral(ANSI(), dbQuoteLiteral(ANSI(), name))
#> <SQL> 'Robert''); DROP TABLE Students;--'