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Chetan Ameta February 2016

Check input contains either pure numeric characters or pure alpha character using single regular expression

I have a function which will return true if input is pure numeric or alphabate else it will return false. This function is working fine.

function checktype($a)
    if (preg_match('/^\d+$/', $a)) { //check numeric (can use other numeric regex also like /^[0-9]+$/ etc)
        $return = true;
    } else if (preg_match('/^[a-zA-Z]+$/', $a)) { //check alphabates
        $return = true;
    } else { //others
        $return = false;
    return $return;

var_dump(checktype('abcdfekjh')); //bool(true)
var_dump(checktype('1324654')); //bool(true)

No I tried to optimized this function by removing conditions so I modified code to:

function checktype($a)
    $return  = (preg_match('/^\d+$/', $a) || preg_match('/^[a-zA-Z]+$/', $a)) ? true:false;
    return $return;

var_dump(checktype('abcdfekjh')); //bool(true)
var_dump(checktype('1324654')); //bool(true)

Now in third step I tried to merge both regex in single regex so I can avoid two preg_match function and got stuck here:

function checktype($a)
    return (preg_match('regex to check either numeric or alphabates', $a)) ? true:false;

I tried a lot of combinations since 2 days by using OR(!) operator using not operator(?!) but no success at all.

Below some reference website from which i pick expression and made some combinations:



OR condition in Reg


Wiktor Stribi┼╝ew February 2016

A one regex to check if a string is all ASCII digits or all ASCII letters is


See regex demo

This regex has two things your regexps do not have:

  • a grouping construct (?:....)
  • an alternation operator |.


  • ^ - start of string
  • (?:\d+ - one or more digits
  • | - or...
  • [a-zA-Z]+) - one or more ASCII letters
  • $ - end of string

If you need to make it Unicode-aware, use [\p{L}\p{M}] instead of [a-zA-Z] (and \p{N} instead of \d, but not necessary) and use the /u modifier:


And in case you want to really check that from the beginning to end, use

  ^^                        ^^



The $ without /D modifier does not match the string at its "very end", it also matches if there is a newline after it as the last character.

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Asked in February 2016
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