Tackling MySQL Error 1172: Solutions for ‘Result Consisted of More Than One Row’

When working with MySQL, encountering Error 1172 – SQLSTATE: 42000 (ER_TOO_MANY_ROWS) can be quite common. This error indicates that a subquery, or a SELECT INTO statement, has returned more than one row when only a single row was expected. Let’s explore how to diagnose and resolve this error with practical examples and sample code.

Diagnosing Error 1172

To diagnose this error, you need to identify the query or procedure that is causing it. This typically involves a SELECT INTO statement or a subquery that is expected to return a single row but returns multiple rows instead. Here’s an example of a problematic query:

SELECT INTO my_variable
FROM my_table
WHERE my_condition;

If my_condition is true for more than one row in my_table, you will receive Error 1172.

Fixing the Error

Ensuring Unique Results

One way to fix this error is to make sure your query returns a unique result. You can use LIMIT to restrict the result to one row:

SELECT INTO my_variable
FROM my_table
WHERE my_condition

However, this is a quick fix and might not always return the desired row. It’s essential to review your conditions to ensure they are precise enough to return a single, specific row.

Using Aggregation Functions

If the multiple rows returned are valid but you only need one value, consider using an aggregation function such as MAX(), MIN(), or SUM():

SELECT MAX(column_name) INTO my_variable
FROM my_table
WHERE my_condition;

This ensures that only one value is returned and assigned to the variable.

Updating Stored Procedures

If the error occurs within a stored procedure, you might need to revise it to handle multiple rows appropriately. Here’s an example of a stored procedure that might cause Error 1172:

CREATE PROCEDURE GetCustomerLevel(customerId INT)
  DECLARE level VARCHAR(10);

  SELECT level INTO level
  FROM customers
  WHERE id = customerId;

  -- Rest of the procedure

If there are duplicate id values in the customers table, this will raise Error 1172. To fix it, ensure that the WHERE clause only matches one row, or modify the procedure to handle multiple rows, possibly by iterating over the result set.

Refactoring Queries

For complex queries, consider refactoring them to avoid the situation altogether. For example, if you’re using a subquery that returns multiple rows, you can often rewrite the query to use JOIN clauses or other SQL constructs that don’t have the single-row restriction.

Handling Duplicate Data

If your database design allows for duplicates that cause this error, you might need to address the underlying data model. Ensuring unique constraints or indexes where appropriate can prevent duplicates from causing issues in your queries.


MySQL Error 1172 occurs when a query expects a single row but gets multiple rows instead. By carefully examining your queries and stored procedures, you can identify the cause of the error and apply the appropriate fix. Whether it’s refining your conditions, using aggregation functions, or refactoring your queries, there are several strategies to resolve this issue. Always test your changes thoroughly to ensure they produce the correct results and maintain the integrity of your data.

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