PostgreSQL error 42601- How we fix it

Are you facing PostgreSQL error code 42601?

Syntax mistakes frequently occur when conducting database queries. And PostgreSQL error 42601 is caused by executing an insufficient database syntax query. When the database query crashes, it will show the error message “syntax error at or near ‘parents.’

Database queries are too particular by nature and a simple mistake can get you into trouble. At Hire MyAdmin, we commonly get inquiries from users asking us to fix the PostgreSQL Error 42601.

Today, we’ll look at the fundamental causes of the SQLState 42601 error code and what precautions can be taken to keep our system safe from this message.


The reason behind the 42601 error in PostgreSQL?

A popular open-source database management system for businesses, PostgreSQL, is known for its numerous exceptional features and capacity even in the most difficult database circumstances.

The PostgreSQL database is currently used by many of the most well-known database applications, including social media apps, Apple, and many others.

Now, the question remains: what are the causes of the hit caused by an SQLState 42601 error code?

The codes in PostgreSQL 42601 error are five characters long. The category of errors is indicated by the starting two characters. The last three characters in that class identify a particular condition.

For instance, the error code is shown like this:

SQL Error [42601]: Error: syntax error at or near “parents”

Position: 119

42 in this instance of 42601 stands for the “class 42: Syntax Error or Access Rule Violation”. This error generally happens when a database query is conducted with a syntax error. In this case, the query’s value “parents” is close to position 119, where the grammatical mistake took place.

What is the solution?

Now let’s see what solutions are there to prevent this PostgreSQL 42601 error.

Like syntax error message occurrences frequently hit the users, they can also be identified and resolved easily. 

But it is difficult to explain in words. However, we will try to clarify with an example.

The exact SQLstate 42601 error message was recently reported by our regular client, who then sought us for assistance in fixing it. He provided us with the program he was attempting to run. The code is 

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION prc_tst_bulk(sql text)

RETURNS TABLE (name text, rowcount integer) AS



WITH m_ty_person AS (return query execute sql)

select name, count(*) from m_ty_person where name like ‘%a%’ group by name


select name, count(*) from m_ty_person where gender = 1 group by name;


$$ LANGUAGE plpgsql;

This led to the PostgreSQL 42601 error when he ran the code. He noticed the error,

ERROR: syntax error at or near “return”

LINE 5: WITH m_ty_person AS (return query execute sql)

The syntax error was found after our PostgreSQL experts looked into the issue. Line 5’s sentence combines dynamic SQL with fundamental SQL. Generally speaking, PostgreSQL queries should always be entirely dynamic or straightforward. As a result, we altered the code to read as,


WITH m_ty_person AS (‘ || sql || $x$)

SELECT name, count(*)::int FROM m_ty_person WHERE name LIKE ‘%a%’ GROUP BY name


SELECT name, count(*)::int FROM m_ty_person WHERE gender = 1 GROUP BY name$x$;

The above code resolved the error issue and ran the program smoothly.


To conclude, the PostgreSQL error 42601 is a syntax error that occurs while executing incorrect syntax in a database query. We now know the reason and solution to resolve this error. If you are still having any difficulties, don’t wait to give us a call.