Parentheses Definition, Punctuation, Rules & Examples

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.

  • 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.
  • You use parentheses when you want to add additional information into a sentence.
  • Along with the rules, there are some special cases and exceptions.
  • Note that, in this second example, the words being defined are a direct, spoken quotation, indicated by quotation marks.

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. I am unsure what the significance is of putting parentheses around (im). The following sentences give just a few examples of the different ways we can use parentheses. This rule also applies to exclamation marks and question marks.

In fact, the language of math is written in symbols, with some text inserted as needed for clarification. Three important—and related—symbols you’ll see often in math are parentheses, brackets, and braces, which you’ll encounter frequently in prealgebra and algebra. the ugly truth about lying on your taxes That’s why it’s so important to understand the specific uses of these symbols in higher math. In the second sentence, you might argue that the parenthetical information (the fact that the boss saw an accident) is key to understanding the sentence.

It is improper to use one parenthesis

However, too many interruptions make it hard for readers to follow your paper’s logic or grammar, and may indicate organizational problems. If you really think that it would be helpful to readers to insert such an unrelated piece of information, a footnote or endnote may be less distracting. Note that, in this second example, the words being defined are a direct, spoken quotation, indicated by quotation marks. Since the quotation marks clearly denote what text is being translated, italics are not needed. To cite authors There are many different formats for citing authors and sources within a scholarly text.

  • Because want is a transitive verb, it needs a direct object outside of parentheses.
  • Add parenthesis to one of your lists below, or create a new one.
  • Brackets are mainly used to add text to quotations, so if you’re adding text to something that’s not a quote, use parentheses instead.
  • Though the word district is parenthetical, it might be important in helping a non-French-speaking reader understand the sentence.

Along with the rules, there are some special cases and exceptions. In academic writing, they are most often used to convey technical information such as equations, to introduce acronyms, and for parenthetical citations. Using parentheses to compress multiple ideas into a single sentence is also discouraged. In British English, parentheses within parentheses are more acceptable.

Many of these formats request that information such as authors’ names and year of publication be given in a parenthetical citation. There are a few things to know when using parentheses to add asides or additional information. They’re generally used by writers and editors to separate the original wording from any additions.

Parentheses, Braces, and Brackets in Math

We’ve included some examples of brackets so you can see what we mean. Brackets look similar to parentheses but have squared corners instead of curved lines. They are also used to set aside complementary information, but they serve different functions too. When it comes to parentheses and other punctuation, there are a couple of rules to follow. By extension, this means the text in parentheses is often a sentence fragment.

A symbol, number, word, phrase, or clause that is in parentheses explains, supplements, or comments on something in the sentence. Material in parentheses can be removed from a sentence without changing that sentence’s overall meaning or grammatical integrity. The singular form is parenthesis, but the plural parentheses is the word you’re more likely to see. Both words have a wide range of related meanings, and what some people identify as a parenthesis, others call parentheses.

The best way to make sure your sentence is correct without the parentheses is to read the sentence and ignore the content in the parentheses. Part of being a good writer means knowing how to use parentheses. Parentheses are a great tool to use to add extra information to a sentence. There are several grammatical reasons why you’d use parentheses in your writing.

Words Nearby parentheses

Parentheses and brackets are punctuation marks used to set apart certain words and sentences. Parentheses, ( ), are used to add extra information in text, while brackets, [ ], are used mainly in quotations to add extra information that wasn’t in the original quote. The parenthesis is a punctuation mark, which is written or typed as an upright curved line. Two parentheses, ( ), are generally paired and used to mark off explanatory or qualifying remarks in writing. Parentheses indicate an interrupting phrase, a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and can also be set off with commas or dashes.

Dictionary Entries Near parenthetical

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.

Chicago also advises this approach, but allows side-by-side parentheses if their content is entirely unrelated. If you do use two sets of parentheses, put a space between them. Add parenthesis to one of your lists below, or create a new one.

When including a citation within a parenthetical element, APA style recommends using commas instead of parentheses or brackets. Sometimes you might need to use two parenthetical elements together—for example, when a sentence contains both an acronym and a citation. Style guides disagree about whether it’s okay to place two (or more) parenthetical asides side by side. Another common use of brackets is when you want to capitalize the first letter of a quotation that is not capitalized in the original.


Use brackets to add text that is missing from or helps clarify the original quote. Brackets are mainly used to add text to quotations, so if you’re adding text to something that’s not a quote, use parentheses instead. Knowing how to use commas in your writing is important, especially when dealing with parentheses. Because parenthetical text usually relates to what’s directly before it, it shouldn’t follow a comma.

So below, we explain the difference between brackets and parentheses. Add parentheses to one of your lists below, or create a new one. Using this parenthesis tip sheet, you can get a broader idea of the use of parentheses. Stack Exchange network consists of 183 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers. Note that Sensei is italicized to clearly denote the non-English word or words being defined. You can cite our article (APA Style) or take a deep dive into the articles below.

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