Solving MySQL Error 1140: Correct Usage of GROUP BY and Aggregate Functions

MySQL Error 1140, corresponding to SQLSTATE: 42000 (ER_MIX_OF_GROUP_FUNC_AND_FIELDS), occurs when an SQL query improperly combines aggregate functions (like MIN(), MAX(), COUNT(), etc.) with non-aggregate expressions without the use of a GROUP BY clause. This error message is a safeguard against ambiguous query results and ensures that the query’s intent is clear to the database engine.

Understanding Error 1140

The error message Mixing of GROUP columns with no GROUP columns is illegal if there is no GROUP BY clause informs you that your query doesn’t comply with the SQL standard’s requirements for selecting grouped and ungrouped columns. MySQL expects every selected column to be either an aggregate function or part of the GROUP BY clause.

Diagnosing and Fixing Error 1140

Using GROUP BY Clause

The most straightforward solution is to include a GROUP BY clause that lists all non-aggregated columns. This ensures that the query groups the results by the unique combinations of the specified columns.

Example 1: Simple Group By

SELECT customer_id, COUNT(order_id)
FROM orders
GROUP BY customer_id;

This query counts orders for each customer_id, grouping the results by the customer_id.

Example 2: Group By with Multiple Columns

SELECT customer_id, product_id, COUNT(order_id)
FROM orders
GROUP BY customer_id, product_id;

This query counts orders for each combination of customer_id and product_id.

Selecting Aggregate Data Only

If you only need aggregated data without grouping by specific columns, ensure your SELECT statement includes only aggregate functions.

Example 3: Aggregates Only

SELECT COUNT(order_id), MAX(order_date)
FROM orders;

This query returns the total number of orders and the latest order date from the orders table.


MySQL can be configured to be more permissive with group by queries by disabling the ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY SQL mode. However, this is not recommended as it can lead to indeterminate results.

Example 4: Disable ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY

SET sql_mode = (SELECT REPLACE(@@sql_mode, 'ONLY_FULL_GROUP_BY', ''));

After executing this command, your original query might not produce an error, but it’s important to understand that the results may not be meaningful or reliable.

Using ANY_VALUE() to Bypass Grouping

MySQL provides the ANY_VALUE() function to allow selection of a non-aggregated column, explicitly telling MySQL to return any value from the group.

Example 5: Using ANY_VALUE()

SELECT ANY_VALUE(customer_id), COUNT(order_id)
FROM orders;

This query returns a customer_id (any value from the group) and the count of orders.


Error 1140 in MySQL is an indication that your query needs to be more explicit in its use of aggregate functions and grouped columns. By properly applying the GROUP BY clause or adjusting your query to only use aggregate functions, you can resolve this error and obtain the desired results from your database. Always aim to write clear and unambiguous SQL queries to avoid such errors and ensure the integrity of your query results.

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