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Basic CTE
5. Basic syntax


Perfect. Time to get down to work.

What is a Common Table Expression? You can think of it as a temporary set of rows that you name then use in the same query. In principle, CTEs are similar to subqueries.

Let's take a look at the most basic syntax of any Common Table Expression:

WITH some_name AS (your_cte)
  SELECT ... 
  FROM some_name

In the most basic version, you need to give your CTE a name (e.g., some_name) and define the query within the parentheses. Then, once you close it with a bracket, you can select columns from this CTE as if it were a table.

In this course, we will refer to the CTE as the inner query and the part after it as the outer query. Note that you need to define your CTE first, i.e. before the SELECT clause of the outer query.

Enough of theory. Take a look at this example:

WITH project_revenue AS (
    SUM(amount) AS sum_amount
  FROM project 
  JOIN donation 
    ON donation.project_id =

FROM project_revenue;

In the query above, we want to show each project with the amount it collected. For this reason, we created a CTE where we selected the project_id and the sum of donations. Once we had our CTE defined, we could retrieve its columns in the outer query. Note that we gave an alias (sum_amount) to the computed column. This way, we can refer to that column in the outer query.


Your turn now! Show the number of projects that reached their minimal_amount.

Stuck? Here's a hint!

In the inner query, group and sum donations by project_id and use a HAVING clause to find the right ones. In the outer query, count the rows.