Like operator in Expression Tree

.net entity-framework expression-trees lambda linq


I have a Linq extension method to dynamically filter Linq queries using string values. For example: query.WhereHelper("columName", ">", 1). I could use many different filter operators like GreaterThan or NotEqual etc. but not "Like". There is no Expression.Like or Expression.StartsWith etc. How can I implement Like operator to my Expression tree? Here's my code:

public static IQueryable<T> WhereHelper<T>(this IQueryable<T> source, string columnName, object value, string filterType)
    ParameterExpression table = Expression.Parameter(typeof(T), "");
    Expression column = Expression.PropertyOrField(table, columnName);
    Expression valueExpression = Expression.Convert(Expression.Constant(value), column.Type);
    Expression where = null;

    switch (filterType)
        case "<":
            where = Expression.LessThan(column, valueExpression);
        case "<=":
            where = Expression.LessThanOrEqual(column, valueExpression);
        case "=":
            where = Expression.Equal(column, valueExpression);
        case ">":
            where = Expression.GreaterThan(column, valueExpression;
        case ">=":
            where = Expression.GreaterThanOrEqual(column, valueExpression);
        case "<>":
            where = Expression.NotEqual(column, valueExpression);

    Expression lambda = Expression.Lambda(where, new ParameterExpression[] { table });

    Type[] exprArgTypes = { source.ElementType };

    MethodCallExpression methodCall = Expression.Call(typeof(Queryable),

    return (IQueryable<T>)source.Provider.CreateQuery<T>(methodCall);

Accepted Answer

You would use Expression.Call with the string.StartsWith, string.Contains, string.EndsWith etc methods. It is for the consuming code to translate it back to TSQL. Note that for LINQ-to-SQL there are also some additional helper functions here, but not with EF.

Popular Answer

You can define LIKE expression as follows,

var propertyName = "Firstname";
var propertyValue= "xxxx";

MethodInfo refmethod = typeof(string).GetMethod("Contains", new[] { typeof(string) });
var parameter = Expression.Parameter(typeof(T), "type");
var property = Expression.Property(parameter, propertyName);
var value = Expression.Constant(propertyValue, typeof(string));
var containsMethodExp = Expression.Call(property, refmethod, value);

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