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Oracle PL/SQL Programming, 5th Edition by Bill Pribyl, Steven Feuerstein

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The Semicolon Delimiter

A PL/SQL program is made up of a series of declarations and statements. These are defined logically, as opposed to physically. In other words, they are not terminated with the physical end of a line of code; instead, they are terminated with a semicolon (;). In fact, a single statement is often spread over several lines to make it more readable. The following IF statement takes up four lines and is indented to reinforce the logic behind the statement:

IF salary < min_salary (2003)
THEN
   salary := salary + salary * .25;
END IF;

There are two semicolons in this IF statement. The first semicolon indicates the end of the single executable statement within the IF-END IF construct. The second semicolon terminates the IF statement itself. This same statement could also be placed on a single physical line and have exactly the same result:

IF salary < min_salary (2003) THEN salary := salary + salary*.25; END IF;

The semicolons are still needed to terminate each logical, executable statement, even if they are nested inside one another. Unless you’re trying to create unreadable code, I suggest that you not combine the different components of the IF statement on a single line. I also recommend that you place no more than one statement or declaration on each line.

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