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SQL functions are built into Oracle Database and are available for use in various appropriate SQL statements. Do not confuse SQL functions with user-defined functions written in PL/SQL.
If you call a SQL function with an argument of a datatype other than the datatype expected by the SQL function, then Oracle attempts to convert the argument to the expected datatype before performing the SQL function. If you call a SQL function with a null argument, then the SQL function automatically returns null. The only SQL functions that do not necessarily follow this behavior are CONCAT, NVL, REPLACE, and REGEXP_REPLACE.