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According to the documentation here

In a syntax statement, the question mark indicates the element preceding it is optional. You may omit the element or include one.

I've never seen a SOQL statement using the ? and in my tests with the Query Editor in the Developers Console only results in errors.

Can anybody tell me how to use the ? in a SOQL, and what it might be good for?

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  • These are typographical conventions to read the document.
    – Ashwani
    Oct 1, 2014 at 18:35

2 Answers 2

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You wouldn't use "?" in a query. They're saying it marks an optional query element. Here's an example from the documentation:

[ORDER BY fieldExpression ASC | DESC ? NULLS FIRST | LAST ?]

So if you include an "Order By" in your query, the "ASC | DESC" and "FIRST | LAST" elements are optional.

(You appear to be quoting from the SOQL Typographical Conventions which relate to documentation syntax rather than SOQL syntax.)

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These are typographical conventions to read the document. So, you could understand it better and implement in example.

Ex:

SELECT fieldname FROM objectname

In an example or syntax statement, italics represent variables. You supply the actual value.

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