How to Diagnose and Fix MySQL Error 1055: “‘%s’ isn’t in GROUP BY”

MySQL Error 1055 is a common issue that occurs when your SQL query violates the ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY SQL mode, which enforces strict GROUP BY checking. This error means that you are trying to select a column that is not functionally dependent on columns in the GROUP BY clause, nor is it used in an aggregate function. Let’s examine how to diagnose and fix this error through various scenarios and examples.

Scenario 1: Missing Columns in GROUP BY

If you’re selecting columns that are not included in the GROUP BY clause or an aggregate function, MySQL will raise Error 1055.

Check your SELECT statement for any columns not included in the GROUP BY clause.

Include all selected columns in the GROUP BY clause:

SELECT customer_id, customer_name, SUM(order_total)
FROM orders
GROUP BY customer_id, customer_name;

In this example, both customer_id and customer_name are included in the GROUP BY clause.

Scenario 2: Using Aggregate Functions

You may want to include columns without grouping by them directly. In this case, you can use aggregate functions.

Identify columns that can be included within an aggregate function.

Apply an aggregate function to the non-grouped columns:

SELECT customer_id, MAX(customer_name), SUM(order_total)
FROM orders
GROUP BY customer_id;

Here, MAX(customer_name) is used to ensure that the query complies with the ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY mode.

Scenario 3: Disabling ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY

If your application logic allows, you might consider turning off the ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY mode.

Check if ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY is enabled:

SELECT @@sql_mode;



Be cautious with this approach as it may lead to indeterminate values for columns not properly grouped.

Scenario 4: Functional Dependence

In some cases, columns are functionally dependent on the primary key that is included in the GROUP BY clause.

Determine if the ungrouped column is functionally dependent on the grouped column.

If the column is functionally dependent on a unique column that is already in the GROUP BY clause, no action is needed. MySQL should not raise Error 1055 in this case as of version 5.7.5 or later.

Scenario 5: Refactoring the Query

Sometimes, the query can be refactored to avoid the need for including non-aggregated columns in the SELECT list.

Look for alternative ways to write the query to achieve the desired result.

Consider using subqueries or joining with a derived table:

SELECT a.customer_id, a.customer_name, b.total_order
FROM customers a
    SELECT customer_id, SUM(order_total) as total_order
    FROM orders
    GROUP BY customer_id
) b ON a.customer_id = b.customer_id;

In this example, a subquery is used to aggregate orders before joining with the customer details.

Scenario 6: Using ANY_VALUE()

MySQL provides the ANY_VALUE() function to suppress ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY error for a specific column.

Identify the column causing the error.

Use ANY_VALUE() to allow a non-aggregated column:

SELECT customer_id, ANY_VALUE(customer_name), SUM(order_total)
FROM orders
GROUP BY customer_id;

This tells MySQL to accept any value from the non-grouped column customer_name.


MySQL Error 1055 is a safeguard against ambiguous query results in GROUP BY queries. By carefully examining your queries and ensuring that all selected columns are either included in the GROUP BY clause, wrapped in aggregate functions, or handled appropriately with ANY_VALUE(), you can resolve this error and retrieve consistent and meaningful data.

Always test your queries thoroughly after making changes to ensure that the results are accurate and expected. If you choose to disable the ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY mode, do so with the understanding that it may lead to non-deterministic results.

For further reading on the GROUP BY clause and related functions, the official MySQL Documentation provides comprehensive explanations and examples.

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