Understanding LINQ Standard Query Operators

Understanding LINQ Standard Query Operators

07 Sep 2022
3 min read
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LINQ standard query operators are the methods which help you to write LINQ query. Most of these query methods operate on sequences or collection whose implement the IEnumerable<T> interface or the IQueryable<T> interface. These operators provide query capabilities including filtering, projection, aggregation, sorting and much more.

LINQ Standard Query Operators Sets

LINQ provides two sets of standard query operators, one set operate on objects of type IEnumerable<T> and the other set operate on objects of type IQueryable<T>. Also, these query methods (standard query operators) are static members of the Enumerable and Queryable static classes They are defined as extension methods of the type on which they operate. Hence, they are called either by using static method syntax or instance method syntax.

The query methods which are extended from IEnumerable<T>, operate on in-memory collections. The query methods which are extended from IQueryable<T>, operate on out-of-process memory collections and build an expression tree that represents the query to be performed.

Example for LINQ Query Method Where() Sets

In LINQ to Objects (in-memory collection), LINQ query methods would be used as anonymous method, like Where():

public static IEnumerable<TSource> Where<TSource>(
 this IEnumerable<TSource> source, Func<TSource, bool> predicate)

While in LINQ to SQL (out-memory collection), mostly LINQ query methods would be used as expression tree, like Where():

public static IQueryable<TSource> Where<TSource>(
 this IQueryable<TSource> source, Expression<Func<TSource, bool>> predicate) 

LINQ Query Method Execution

The standard query operators are executed based on the value they return. The query methods that return a singleton value (like Average, Sum, Min, Max etc.) then execute immediately. The query methods that return a sequence or collection defer the query execution. The query methods can be chained together in one query.

Writing LINQ Query with the help of Standard Query Operators (LINQ Query Methods)

string sentence = "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog";

// Split the string into individual words to create a collection. 
string[] words = sentence.Split(' ');

// Using query expression syntax. 
var query = from word in words
 group word.ToUpper() by word.Length into gr
 orderby gr.Key
 select new { Length = gr.Key, Words = gr };

//You can also write above query by using method-based query syntax. 
var query1 = words.
 GroupBy(w => w.Length, w => w.ToUpper()).
 Select(g => new { Length = g.Key, Words = g }).
 OrderBy(o => o.Length);

//use either query or query1 variable to get result
foreach (var obj in query) 
 Console.WriteLine("\n Words of length {0}:", obj.Length);
 foreach (string word in obj.Words)

 Words of length 3: 
 Words of length 4: 
 Words of length 5: 

Different types of standard query operators

Operator Type
Operator Name
Aggregate, Average, Count, LongCount, Max, Min, Sum
Cast, OfType, ToList, ToArray, ToLookup, ToDictionary, AsEnumerable
Single, SingleOrDefault, First, FirstOrDefault, Last, LastOrDefault, ElementAt, ElementAtOrDefault
Repeat, Range, Empty
Join, GroupJoin
OrderBy, OrderByDescending, ThenBy, ThenByDescending, Reverse
Skip, SkipWhile, Take, TakeWhile
Select, SelectMany
Contains, All, Any
Union, Intersect, Except, Distinct
What do you think?

I hope you will enjoy LINQ Standard Query Operators while programming with LINQ. I would like to have feedback from my blog readers. Your valuable feedback, question, or comments about this article are always welcome.

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About Author
Shailendra Chauhan (Microsoft MVP, Founder & CEO at Scholarhat by DotNetTricks)

Shailendra Chauhan is the Founder and CEO at ScholarHat by DotNetTricks which is a brand when it comes to e-Learning. He provides training and consultation over an array of technologies like Cloud, .NET, Angular, React, Node, Microservices, Containers and Mobile Apps development. He has been awarded Microsoft MVP 8th time in a row (2016-2023). He has changed many lives with his writings and unique training programs. He has a number of most sought-after books to his name which has helped job aspirants in cracking tough interviews with ease.
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