RETURN

1. Introduction

In the RETURN part of your query, you define which parts of the pattern you are interested in. It can be nodes, relationships, or properties on these.

If what you actually want is the value of a property, make sure to not return the full node/relationship. This will improve performance.

Diagram

2. Return nodes

To return a node, list it in the RETURN statement.

Query
MATCH (n { name: 'B' })
RETURN n

The example will return the node.

Table 1. Result
n

Node[1]{name:"B"}

1 row

3. Return relationships

To return a relationship, just include it in the RETURN list.

Query
MATCH (n { name: 'A' })-[r:KNOWS]->(c)
RETURN r

The relationship is returned by the example.

Table 2. Result
r

:KNOWS[0]{}

1 row

4. Return property

To return a property, use the dot separator, like this:

Query
MATCH (n { name: 'A' })
RETURN n.name

The value of the property name gets returned.

Table 3. Result
n.name

"A"

1 row

5. Return all elements

When you want to return all nodes, relationships and paths found in a query, you can use the * symbol.

Query
MATCH p =(a { name: 'A' })-[r]->(b)
RETURN *

This returns the two nodes, the relationship and the path used in the query.

Table 4. Result
a b p r

Node[0]{happy:"Yes!",name:"A",age:55}

Node[1]{name:"B"}

(0)-[BLOCKS,1]->(1)

:BLOCKS[1]{}

Node[0]{happy:"Yes!",name:"A",age:55}

Node[1]{name:"B"}

(0)-[KNOWS,0]->(1)

:KNOWS[0]{}

2 rows

6. Variable with uncommon characters

To introduce a placeholder that is made up of characters that are not contained in the English alphabet, you can use the ` to enclose the variable, like this:

Query
MATCH (`This isn\'t a common variable`)
WHERE `This isn\'t a common variable`.name = 'A'
RETURN `This isn\'t a common variable`.happy

The node with name "A" is returned.

Table 5. Result
`This isn\'t a common variable`.happy

"Yes!"

1 row

7. Column alias

If the name of the column should be different from the expression used, you can rename it by using AS <new name>.

Query
MATCH (a { name: 'A' })
RETURN a.age AS SomethingTotallyDifferent

Returns the age property of a node, but renames the column.

Table 6. Result
SomethingTotallyDifferent

55

1 row

8. Optional properties

If a property might or might not be there, you can still select it as usual. It will be treated as null if it is missing.

Query
MATCH (n)
RETURN n.age

This example returns the age when the node has that property, or null if the property is not there.

Table 7. Result
n.age

55

<null>

2 rows

9. Other expressions

Any expression can be used as a return item — literals, predicates, properties, functions, and everything else.

Query
MATCH (a { name: 'A' })
RETURN a.age > 30, "I'm a literal",(a)-->()

Returns a predicate, a literal and function call with a pattern expression parameter.

Table 8. Result
a.age > 30 "I'm a literal" (a)-->()

true

"I'm a literal"

[(0)-[BLOCKS,1]->(1),(0)-[KNOWS,0]->(1)]

1 row

10. Unique results

DISTINCT retrieves only unique rows depending on the columns that have been selected to output.

Query
MATCH (a { name: 'A' })-->(b)
RETURN DISTINCT b

The node named "B" is returned by the query, but only once.

Table 9. Result
b

Node[1]{name:"B"}

1 row