Why does Sql Sum of multiple columns containing nulls return an incorrect result?


Table containing the following values:

Column1  Column2
1        NULL
NULL     4
2        NULL
NULL     5
3        6

The following query:

    SUM([Column1] + [Column2] )
FROM [myTable]

returns a value of 9 when it should be returning 21. Why? How does it arrive at the value?

I know the SUM can be corrected by adding ISNULL like so:

    SUM(ISNULL([Column1], 0) + ISNULL([Column2], 0))
FROM [myTable]

but I would like to know the logic behind the value 9

What is the sum of null and a number, exactly? Note where the 9 comes from: the only row which has non-null Column1 and Column2.

One viable solution has of course already been posted. But then, where's the fun in jumping right to the fix?

(copypasta'd at OP's request)