I always learned that the parentheses end inside the punctuation like this:

A sentence about some particular thing (with a parenthetical note at the end).

However, sometimes I find that it is necessary to have a period at the end of the statement inside the parentheses. This makes the sentence terminate oddly if I follow the same rule.

This is example one (where the parentheses contain a short list, then end with, etc.).

This is example two (where the sentence might be short, but the parenthetical note might be quite long. In fact, it may even require more than one complete sentence, which makes the end of the whole thing look weird to me because there is a period in the middle but not at the end).

So what is the correct way to punctuate a sentence that ends with parentheses in these circumstances? Sometimes, I abandon the parentheses all together, either neglecting the statement, creating a new sentence or splitting with a semicolon, to avoid the uncomfortable feeling I get when it just does not look right.

  • What is the correct way? The way that doesn't confuse your readers. Figure it out -- if it confuses you, is it likely to confuse your readers? After all, you're the one that sposta be telling them. So, remember, there are no official rules for English punctuation (though folks will be happy to tell you there are, and "correct" you), so you should simply do what seems simplest and least confusing, and ignore the "rules". After all, that's what everybody else does. Feb 25, 2023 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


What you wrote is correct --- all of it. etc. needs a period because it is an abbreviation and it is separated from the period ending the sentence (by a right paren).

(But if you write a whole sentence as a parenthetical remark then the period ending it is inside the parens.)

Updated, as a comment said I didn't address OP's second example. My advice for that second example is not to do that: don't start a parenthetical remark as the completion of a surrounding sentence, and then add, within the same parenthetical remark, one or more complete sentences.

If you feel you must, then use two separate parenthetical remarks: one to complete the incomplete sentence, and the other for the complete sentence(s). In other words, do what my answer suggested, but for two different parenthetical remarks.

What you're trying to do is unclear - no punctuation would make sense of it: combining completion-of-a-sentence with additional sentences.


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