Parentheses Punctuation: Clear Answers to Your Questions

The accurate use of parentheses punctuation will definitely impress your teachers. Only a few students are meticulous enough to pay attention to such trifles as punctuation marks inside or outside parentheses. However, if you want to become one of the lucky ones to get the very best grades, you can use this quick guide to learn all the secrets of excellent punctuation within only a couple of minutes.
 

Parentheses Punctuation and Use

Parentheses are the round brackets used to include relatively unimportant information in a sentence (such as this part, for example).

It is important that you do not bury important information inside parentheses, because some readers can simply ignore this part. How do you know whether the information is important? Simply use the following checklist:

  • The part in brackets can be simply deleted without making the sentence difficult to understand.
  • If you delete it, the meaning of the sentence won’t change.
  • The part in brackets illustrates rather than explains the rest of the sentence.

If you agree with all of the 3 above-mentioned statements, feel free to use parentheses.
 

Parentheses Punctuation: Where to Put a Period?

The central question concerning punctuation within parentheses is whether to use a period inside or after it. The answer is that it depends on the type of construction and the place in the sentence where you are going to use it.

  1. If you use a sentence fragment, the period or any other punctuation mark should be placed after the parentheses (just like in this case).
  2. If you decide to include a full sentence into parentheses, the period or any other punctuation mark should be placed inside the brackets. (You will need to put the period before closing the bracket.)
  3. If you include a sentence fragment in the middle or at the end of a sentence, you should put the period after the brackets.
  4. If you include a full sentence in the middle of a sentence, you should place a punctuation mark inside the parentheses. If you include a full sentence at the end of a sentence, you should put the period before the closing paranthesis.
    E.g. About 33% of girls aged 16-18 smoke on a regular basis, whereas only 28% of boys of the same age do so. (This data was collected by a recent psychological survey.)

So, to use parenthesis grammar rules appropriately, you should pay special attention to the type of construction used and what you include in a parenthesis. Use this quick guide to put every punctuation mark at its place. Good luck with your papers!


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