I have a list of words/phrases in a table phrases. I have another table with a full-text catalog indexing the description column.

I want to populate a table results with a record for each phrase, and the number of times that phrases was found in the description:

INSERT INTO results(phrase, foundcount)
SELECT  phrase, 
    (SELECT COUNT(*) FROM table WHERE CONTAINS(table.description, phrase))
FROM    phrases;

No matter how I try, this results in the error:

Incorrect syntax near `phrase`. Expecting STRING, TEX_LEX, or VARIABLE

I would really rather not use a cursor just so I can assign each phrase to a variable. Is that really the only option?

2 Answers 2


Try this:

create function dbo.fn_GetCountForPhrase (@phrase varchar(500))
    returns  int
    declare @count int
    declare @localphrase varchar(8000)
    set @localphrase='"' + @phrase + '"'
    SELECT @count=COUNT(*) FROM table  a WHERE CONTAINS(table.description,   @localphrase)
    return @count
FROM phrases 

I think you can get what you need from the DMVs, including sys.dm_fts_index_keywords_by_document and sys.dm_fts_parser, something like this:

SELECT p.phrase, kbd.display_term
FROM sys.dm_fts_index_keywords_by_document( DB_ID(), OBJECT_ID('dbo.documentText') ) kbd
    CROSS APPLY dbo.phrases p
        CROSS APPLY sys.dm_fts_parser  ( N'FORMSOF(FREETEXT, "' + phrase + N'")', 1033, 0, 1 ) x
WHERE x.display_term = kbd.display_term

Caution: if you wrap your searches in quotes you get an exact match, so you're not really getting the benefit of full-text indexing. You could also just do that with Like and wildcards(%). Also scalar functions do not tend to scale well over large resultsets.

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