Deleting Top Records With An Order By Clause

Kevin Feasel

2018-09-20

T-SQL

Kenneth Fisher shows that deleting the top N records with an ORDER BY clause is not straightforward:

Did you know you can’t do this?

DELETE TOP (10)
FROM SalesOrderDetail
ORDER BY SalesOrderID DESC;

Msg 156, Level 15, State 1, Line 8
Incorrect syntax near the keyword ‘ORDER’.

I didn’t. Until I tried it anyway. Turns out, it says so right in the limitations section of BOL. Fortunately, that same section does have a recommendation on how to move forward.

Read on for a couple of methods to do this.

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