Whatever the function of your parenthetical text, be sure to place it as close as possible to the word or words that it is supplementing, citing, abbreviating, translating, exemplifying, defining, or restating. When using parentheses for this purpose, always preface your list with “e.g.” or other clarifying text. If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the « Comment » box at the bottom of this page. Writers have a lot of leeway with parentheses, as long as they heed a few simple guidelines. Used shrewdly (and sparingly!), parentheses add color, nuance, and spice to your writing.
The brackets are used in order to denote it as something taken directly from and exactly as another text or statement. To expand on Marc’s answer, square (or plain) brackets are sometimes used to « fix » a quote. Parentheses are a grammatical symbol that holds extra information within them.
End of Sentence
In the third sentence, the parenthetical word district is an English translation of the French word arrondissement. Though the word district is parenthetical, it might be important in helping a non-French-speaking reader understand the sentence. The parenthesis is a type of bracket, which when paired with another bracket—[ ]—is used to interject text within other text. Parentheses the proper timing of workers’ compensation deductions are prevalent in mathematics, too, where they are used to set off arithmetic symbols as well as numbers, operations, and equations. When you want to enclose a set of parentheses inside another set, most style guides recommend using square brackets for the inner element. APA style recommends using a single set of parentheses with a semicolon separating the main elements.
- If you want to show the reader you omitted part of a quotation, especially in the middle of a sentence or passage, add an ellipsis between brackets.
- A common point of confusion in English is when to use parentheses vs. brackets—or, as they’re known in British English, round brackets vs. square brackets.
- Parentheses are a grammatical symbol that holds extra information within them.
- You can incorporate parentheses to add additional information into your sentences and provide the reader with more detail.
- In general, the first word inside parentheses is typically capitalized if it is a proper noun or it begins a new complete sentence.
Eliminate grammar errors and improve your writing with our free AI-powered grammar checker. Generate accurate APA, MLA, and Chicago citations for free with Scribbr’s Citation Generator. Have a human editor polish your writing to ensure your arguments are judged on merit, not grammar errors. Parentheses are used to add extra information that isn’t necessary but is still helpful.
Dictionary Entries Near parenthesis
From defining acronyms and abbreviations to separating area codes in phone numbers, you’re likely to come across parentheses often in writing. You use parentheses when you want to add additional information into a sentence. To use them properly, the information inside the parentheses may not be necessary to the sentence standing alone as a grammatically complete thought.
To include extra information The first function of parentheses is to offer extra information. Parentheses communicate to readers that the material inside the parentheses is not necessary to understand the main sentence, nor is it part of the grammar of the main sentence, but is pertinent enough to be included. Parentheses are punctuation marks used to set aside tangential or unnecessary information.
However, it’s completely normal to place a comma after parentheses, without a space. Here, if we remove the text in parentheses, the sentence still makes sense. Some details are missing, but the main idea is the same, and the sentence is grammatically correct. Less commonly, an author of a text may use parentheses to add personal commentary, as if speaking directly to the reader. This extra information often includes defining acronyms, especially the first time they’re used in a text.
When to Use Parentheses
However, it’s always best to avoid this kind of nesting whenever possible. If you can rephrase the sentence to remove one of the parenthetical elements, this is the best option. Use parentheses when you want to add extra information that’s not necessary but is still helpful. Make sure that the sentence is still grammatically correct if you remove the text in parentheses. Parentheses, ( ), are punctuation marks used to set aside text that’s not necessary but is still related to the topic.
As long as the part of the sentence you’re using is not a sentence fragment, you can use brackets around the first letter to capitalize it. Brackets are often found inside quotations to show text added to the original quote. When referencing someone else’s work, it’s best to use only the passages that are relevant to your topic. Because of this, an important word or phrase may be missing from the passage you kept, in which case you could add the missing context in brackets.
In the first sentence, the statement, The new sedan is fast, does not end with a period. Instead, you place the period after the parenthetical sentence (as well as the final parenthesis), it goes from zero to 60 in just six seconds. You also start the parenthetical sentence with a lowercase letter (i) because it is still considered part of the overall sentence and not a separate statement. The style manual also notes that you can use parentheses as delimiters for letters or numbers in a list or outline, as well as in academic uses including parenthetical references to a list of works cited. Parenthetical text must stand completely outside of the grammar of the main sentence. If the sentence’s grammar becomes incorrect or its meaning changes, your parenthetical text is not truly parenthetical.
Examples of parenthesis
Knowing how to use parentheses helps to make your writing flow well. You can incorporate parentheses to add additional information into your sentences and provide the reader with more detail. When you use parentheses, you’ll have to consider where within the complete sentence the parentheses exist. This generally will help you know where to place grammatical symbols like commas, periods, exclamation marks, and question marks.
Aside from their use in grammar, parentheses are also used for in-text citations in the APA, Chicago, and MLA formats. Additionally, if you want to show that a word can be either singular or plural, you can put an s in parentheses at the end of it. Note that per the order of operations, you’d work what’s in the parentheses first, next, calculate numbers with exponents, and then multiply and/or divide, and finally, add or subtract. Multiplication and division, as well as addition and subtraction, hold an equal place in the order of operations, so you work these from left to right. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional.
They’re typically used for complementary explanations or personal commentary from the author, as well as for defining acronyms. Notice how the text in brackets was not part of the original quote but provided context to help the reader understand what was being discussed by defining the pronoun it. When using brackets, it’s important to replace the original text with words or phrases that still make the sentence grammatically correct. For these types of parenthetical citations, you generally include the year of the publication, the author(s)’ names, and, if needed, the page number(s). Since there are many reasons to use parentheses, be sure that the function of parentheses is always made clear to your readers. Like punctuation, the rules of capitalization when using parentheses often depend on the style guide or grammar resource that you use.
In general, the first word inside parentheses is typically capitalized if it is a proper noun or it begins a new complete sentence. Brackets are not as common as parentheses and are generally used only for quotations. Specifically, brackets show that new information, usually from the author or editor, was added to the original quote. If you ever need to put parentheses within parentheses (this usually only happens in bibliographic citations), you use brackets for the second set. Brackets can also be used in place of parentheses, but this occurs mainly in bibliographic citations.
It also means that subject-verb agreement should ignore anything in parentheses. In this example, if we remove the text in parentheses, the sentence doesn’t make any sense. Because want is a transitive verb, it needs a direct object outside of parentheses. In special situations where a word can be either singular or plural, add an s in parentheses at the end of the word. A common point of confusion in English is when to use parentheses vs. brackets—or, as they’re known in British English, round brackets vs. square brackets.
In general, the most common usage of parentheses is to add asides or unessential additional information. However, there are several other reasons a writer may choose to use parentheses. 1
If the text in parentheses is a complete sentence and is separate from surrounding sentences, the period goes inside the parentheses. Additionally, a phrase that could stand alone as a complete sentence can also be contained inside another complete sentence. If it’s not a complete sentence, the period goes outside the parentheses. Along with providing you a way to add more color to your writing, parentheses are used for many other reasons, as listed above.