I have been experiencing a full text problem when searching using CONTAINS. I have the full text catalog accent sensitive setting set to false.

The table contains following rows:

Microsoft C#
Microsoft Visual C
Microsoft C

When I try to get "Microsoft C#" using the following query:

select name
from fulltexttable ft with (nolock)
where contains (
        ,N'microsoft and c#'

...it yields the following results:

Microsoft Visual C
Microsoft C

I tried using different casing. It yields the different result set:

select *
from fulltexttable with (nolock)
where contains (
        ,N'microsoft and C#'


Microsoft C#

The second one is what I expected. I thought SQL Server performed a case insensitive search to get the data, but it seems casing affects the full text results?

  • Also your Language choice matters in parsing text. wBob mentioned the English word breaker as an example. However, other languages and the NEUTRAL word breaker make different decisions. Are you using NEUTRAL?
    – RLF
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


This is documented although I couldn't find a reference in Books Online:

The rules for characters followed by nonalphanumeric characters are somewhat convoluted (at least in English). The English word breaker accepts the token C# and returns C#. The lowercase token c#, however, is indexed as c with the # character stripped off. The uppercase token C++ and lowercase token c++, on the other hand, are both indexed as c++.

"Pro Full-Text Search in SQL Server 2008" - Michael Coles, Hilary Cotter, p106

You can check the behaviour of your search phrase using the sys.dm_fts_parser DMV, eg

SELECT * FROM sys.dm_fts_parser ( 'microsoft AND c#', 1033, 0, 0 )
SELECT * FROM sys.dm_fts_parser ( 'microsoft AND C#', 1033, 0, 0 )

As a workaround, you could force all strings through as upper-case, use some kind of mapping table for common search terms, or design a strategy to ensure non-alphanumeric characters are never stored or queried as part of the full-text index.

Note the behaviour is more consistent in SQL 2012 (where both lower and upper case will return only 'Microsoft C#').

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