This tag is concerned with the usage of the glyphs ( and ), known as parentheses (singular parenthesis) in American English and as brackets in British English.

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61
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8answers
3k views

“A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement

When a/an precedes a parenthetical aside (sometimes seen in informal/conversational writing), should the vowel rule depend on the first word in parentheses, or the next word in the "regular" flow of ...
57
votes
8answers
5k views

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses?

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses (for example, if I (meaning myself) write like this)?
46
votes
14answers
2k views

If an insertion in parentheses ends with a smiley, how do I distinguish between the two?

I know smileys are not part of written language (yet), and any questions about them are irrelevant to linguistics and are kind of not serious. So take my question with a smiley then. It bugs me ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the optional plural form of a word that ends in “‑y”?

I guess “optional plural” is the correct term. I’m referring to things like It can be found at the following location(s). Please pick up your ticket(s). But how do I do that to a word that ends ...
19
votes
1answer
11k views

How to deal with abbreviations like 'etc.' at the end of parentheses which are closing a sentence?

In Hungarian, when there's a dot both inside and outside parentheses at the end of a sentence, we write it as follows: Sok állatom van (kutya, macska stb.). (Meaning: I've got many animals ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

Parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes to provide additional detail

When do you use commas and when do you use parentheses to provide more detail about something? For example: The suspect, Tom Wilson, is now being charged with murder. The suspect (Tom Wilson) is ...
12
votes
3answers
6k views

What does an exclamation mark inside parentheses “(!)” mean?

What does an exclamation mark inside parentheses "(!)" mean? I saw this in a book review I was reading and I didn't understand what the use of it was. Can someone help me?
11
votes
7answers
8k views

What is the common name for brackets, braces, and parentheses?

I need to name a variable containing ()[]{}, what is the common name for all of them? Two side questions: parentheses is plural, or singular, or both? is abbreviating it as parens understandable?
11
votes
2answers
1k views

First usage of parentheses or brackets ( and )

I have found several sources (Wikipedia, Eats Shoots & Leaves) that claim Erasmus was the first person to use parentheses (also known as brackets). He supposedly called them lunulae (because they ...
11
votes
1answer
504 views

Writing the most important part of a sentence (at the end, between parentheses)

I've seen this writing style several times, where the most important part of a sentence - or a twist - is put at the end between parentheses. This is typically used in titles and gives the sentence an ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

How to deal with irregular plural(s)?

What happens if you have a written phrase like We were looking at the same poster(s). but with a noun that has an irregular plural? E.g. with baby/babies, would this be the correct form? We ...
9
votes
4answers
6k views

When to write the word “parenthetically”

I understand that if you're speaking a phrase in which you would write parentheses, you can say the word parenthetically. But when should you write the word parenthetically? I came across this ...
9
votes
3answers
11k views

Is there a grammatical rule for using “read” between parentheses? [closed]

As an example: I am bored (read: lazy). I wish to know if English Grammar has a formal construct for this usage.
9
votes
4answers
3k views

When a sentence uses an optional plural, should the rest of the sentence treat it as singular or plural?

Consider the following sentence: We assume that the individual(s) possesses some general knowledge of the rules of football. Is "possesses" correct there? Should it be "possess"? Is the rule ...
8
votes
4answers
357 views

Should enclosing commas be treated as parentheses?

I just read the following in Dan Ariely's book Predictably Irrational, [...] Zoe, and the other kids to whom I offered the same deal, was completely blinded by [...] p. 57 To me it would have ...
8
votes
4answers
20k views

Where does the question mark go — inside or outside the parentheses?

I know that when brackets enclose part of a sentence, the full stop goes outside. I tripped over this morning. I was distracted by a plane (which turned out to be Superman). If it's a full ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Number agreement when using “(s)” for optional plural

I have a question about the following construction and which instance is correct. Selecting an appropriate study topic(s). Selecting appropriate study topic(s). When it is both singular ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

What are the correct ways to express parenthetical comments?

I've seen parenthetical comments that are inserted mid-sentence (like this) and I've also seen parenthetical comments that are inserted after the terminal punctuation symbol of a sentence. (Like ...
7
votes
4answers
16k views

In which cases is a comma/period placed inside or outside of parentheses?

Are there cases where a period is placed inside parentheses? In which cases the period (or a comma) should be placed inside the parentheses?
6
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5answers
3k views

Which would you place in parentheses: the expansion or the abbreviation? [closed]

When dealing with abbreviations, should you parenthesize the abbreviation or its expansion? I have seen it both ways. Can anyone make a good case for preferring one style over the other?
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Using i.e. in parentheses

When a writer uses parentheses to define a phrase or clarify a word in a sentence, is it appropriate also to use i.e. in the parentheses? That use seems redundant to me.
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I correctly use the possessive apostrophe with a parenthetical citation?

Is the apostrophe in the right place in the following sentence? Pendleton, et al. (2002)’s research implies that extension of treatment allows for greater weight loss.
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Singular or plural verb when pluralisation is used in parentheses [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When a sentence uses an optional plural, should the rest of the sentence treat it as singular or plural? Which is correct? Buy an apple from the vendor(s) that are ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Where to put the periods when using a parenthetical sentence?

I have two complete sentences; the second is in parentheses, essentially a comment on the first. Where do I place the periods? I would use this: They played opera. (I covered my ears.) Is this ...
5
votes
4answers
840 views

Where to insert comma(s)?

Compare these: She tried, and, as expected, failed. She tried, and as expected, failed. She tried and, as expected, failed. She tried and as expected, failed. She tried and (as ...
5
votes
2answers
185 views

Does use-mention distinction warrant breaking conventions?

Does use-mention distinction sometimes warrant breaking the following capitalization and punctuation conventions? American convention recommends placing punctuation within quote marks. Sentences ...
5
votes
3answers
385 views

sylleptic parentheses

Here's a quote from Wikipedia: the triple point of Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW, 273.16 K and 0.01 °C) Now, "VSMOW" refers to "Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water", while "273.16 K and ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

Use of “e.g.” — are parentheses necessary?

Is it appropriate to use "e.g." in a sentence without using parentheses? This administrative access control should provide visibility into access via multiple vectors (e.g. group access rights ...
5
votes
2answers
8k views

Exclamation mark before closing parenthesis [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the question mark go — inside or outside the parentheses? Consider this: Even a fool gets to be young once (but not twice!). Do you understand? The ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

When to choose em dash over parenthesis for parenthetical phrases?

According to Wikipedia: The em dash, m dash, m-rule, or "mutton" (—) often demarcates a break of thought or some similar interpolation stronger than the interpolation demarcated by parentheses ...
4
votes
2answers
177 views

Parenthetic Apposition or not?

Please settle a debate for me. Here is the sentence in question: Excessive, incorrect, use of the word "like" is unbelievably irritating. The criticism is against the comma following the word ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

How to read parentheses equation [closed]

I have problems with reading mathematical equations in which there are parentheses; could anybody help me? For example: (x−a) (x+b) = 5 (x−a) + 2 (a+10) = z 2 + (10−a) d ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Should I use adjacent parentheses or a semicolon (or something else)?

In scientific writing it is common to use parentheses to refer to the details of statistical analyses at the end of a sentence. However, it is also common to refer to figures or tables this way. ...
4
votes
2answers
286 views

Changing plurality in parentheses

If a set of parentheses lies between a subject and its verb, and the parentheses contain an substitutive subject whose singularity/plurality disagrees with the original subject, whose ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

How do you make a word like “parent(s)” possessive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? "Please submit your and your parent(s)' federal tax returns." Is the possessive of "parent(s)'" correctly ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

When using complete sentences in parenthetical e.g. or i.e. situations, should the first word be capitalized?

In a bulleted list of very technical sentences, where each bulleted item has one or two parenthetical examples or restatements which are complete sentences, should the first letter of each e.g. or ...
4
votes
1answer
51 views

quotes and brackets

I'm programming a parser for a new language, and need a word which references all kinds of quotes and brackets: "" '' <> () [] {} Up to now I always used "quotes and brackets", but is there ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Parentheses around more than one paragraph

Does English allow one to put parentheses around more than one paragraph? Example: Paragraph 1. (Paragraph 2. Paragraph 3.) Paragraph 4. (Of course, this is just a simple example. ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I manage periods for abbreviations with parentheses, right before a period?

"In the case of medical diagnostics, there is a cost associated with each medical procedure that provides additional information (blood test, x-ray, etc.)." Should that end with "etc.).", "etc)." ...
3
votes
8answers
410 views

Nested parentheticals — restructuring for clarity

It's widely known that the name "JavaScript" is trademarked by Oracle (formerly a trademark of Sun, formerly a trademark of Netscape). What was formerly a trademark of Netscape? Sun? Oracle? ...
3
votes
1answer
238 views

Entire sentence in parentheses

I am formatting a new book for my company and ran into a problem. There is a sentence that reads: Before beginning, watch Part I in the DVD series, God & the History of Art. (If available as ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

How does one parenthetically amend a noun in a sentence so that both the singular and plural form are included?

In a complex sentence with two subjects, each taking separate actions, the second subject is item (singular), which I want to amend to item(s) with a parenthetical s. How do I direct the rest of the ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

Bracket placement

My idea of using of various brackets is unclear; can anybody clarify as to where exactly I use () and []? Furtermore, are {} used in regular grammar?
3
votes
1answer
149 views

Reference to word or phrase that has previously appeared in parentheses

Consider the following sentence: There are three options (Halifax, Winnipeg and Saskatoon). Of the three, Winnipeg is the best choice because of X, Y and Z. The sentence is pretty ...
2
votes
4answers
982 views

How to understand “like it or not”?

This is from the transcript of a podcast. How many times has it happened to you: you’re sitting around watching a rerun of Friends and you think: Man, if only I could catch a whiff of that ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Usage of brackets/parentheses [closed]

When and how do we use the different kinds of brackets/parentheses — (){}[] — while writing English (not code)?
2
votes
1answer
206 views

Two parenthesized sentences in direct sequence

Is it permissible/good style to have two parenthesized sentences in direct sequence, such as in the following example? However, this could lead to problems with A (for given B) (though not ...
2
votes
4answers
890 views

Comma placement following a coordinating connector

Is there a de jure standard in print media for comma placement following a coordinating connector? The situation is perilous, but if we are prepared to act promptly, there is still one chance of ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Continuing a sentence in a parenthesis and then starting a new one inside the same

Take a look at this meaning: By the way, I marked position 2854 (in the code. It's the slash). Is is correct to start a new sentence within a parenthesis like this? Or another, worse, example: ...
2
votes
1answer
238 views

Is there anything wrong with this sentence? [closed]

I'm focused on the punctuation. If anybody can help point out if there are any errors, I'd appreciate it. The two characters in the band are James (left—who I worked with previously for his ...