I'm using a formula to run through a list of names, compare them to a master list and check associated values for the names that appear on both.

=COUNTA( Iferror(QUERY(Requirements!A2:F, "select A where A matches '" & JOIN("|", Attendance!A2:A) & "' and B = 'Yes'", 0),))

However, some of the names contain apostrophes (eg. O'Malley) and this is killing the formula - Is there a simple way to escape or replace the apostrophe in the name either in the original lists or as the formula reads it?


1 Answer 1


According to Google's Query Language Reference, string literals should be

enclosed in either single or double quotes. Examples: "fourteen" 'hello world' "It's raining".

You are joining the Attendance values by | only, which again is enclosed in 's, so if Attendance!A2:A was


the result of the "... '" & JOIN("|", Attendance!A2:A) & "' ..." would be 'Larsson|O'Malley|Taylor'.

As you can see, this leads to unmatched ' - the string seemingly ends and begins with a ', but the apostrophe in O'Malley shortcuts the string so that it is really 'Larsson|O'.

You could use "" instead of ' when creating the string:

=COUNTA( Iferror(QUERY(Requirements!A2:F, "select A where A matches """ & JOIN("|", Attendance!A2:A) & """ and B = 'Yes'", 0)))

Note how the double quotation mark "" allows the character to be escaped, so it does not short-circuit the string.

This would allow O'Malley to be counted, but would be trouble if you have a name that includes ". To avoid all sorts of character issues, your formula should be rewritten so that it does not rely on creating a query by concatenating input strings.


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