I am writing up a project and I am wondering whether or not I would capitalize the first letter in brackets where the brackets are the start of the sentence. For example, consider the following: I like French. (Not really). Should it be (not really) or (Not really)? Thanks in advance

closed as off-topic by Canis Lupus, tchrist, David M, MrHen, Bradd Szonye Mar 27 '14 at 23:20

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  • Generally, you want to start a sentence with a capital letter. Have you reviewed the topics of capitalization and sentence formation? You might find more help at ELL. – Canis Lupus Mar 26 '14 at 21:31
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    If you are putting your comment in parentheses as you have stated in the example, I would start the phrase with a capital letter, and put the period inside the brackets. However, with a short parenthetical statement like that, it can be written: I like French (not really). Or I like French. (Not really.) – anongoodnurse Mar 26 '14 at 22:32
  • (Also) are you concerned with the case where the sentence begins with a parenthetical but doesn't end there? – Bradd Szonye Mar 26 '14 at 23:24
  • heh nice Bradd :) – Fattie Mar 27 '14 at 7:43

The answer is simple, if you "do have a full stop", then the next sentence in braces has a capital.

If you "don't have a full stop" it's part of the same sentence, do not, ever, use a capital. (And the full stop goes "outside everything.")

Both forms are completely normal, OK and commonplace.

Here's an example of a sentence (with some extra stuff).

Here's a great sentence. (Didn't you love that sentence?)

Here's a sentence (it sucks) with short words.

That's all there is to it, no biggie here.


I have always treated parenthetical statements as part of the sentence, and always as additional commentary to what has just been stated. With that rule in place, there would never be a parenthetical statement starting a sentence. Your provided example, using my rule, would not put the period after the word French, but would be placed after the contradictory statement just after that word. See below:

I like French (not really).

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    That's one way to do it, but there's nothing wrong with having parenthetical sentences. – Bradd Szonye Mar 26 '14 at 23:23
  • Yeah, whole sentences in parenthesis are completely normal. (Here's an example.) They are everywhere and in all historical periods of writing. – Fattie Mar 27 '14 at 7:45

You shouldn't put a complete sentence in parentheses at all.

  • I don't like being critical, but you should provide authoritative references. Start here and check the accepted answer. Then look here. Then work on your Google-fu for awhile. – Canis Lupus Mar 26 '14 at 21:40
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    Who says.......? – WS2 Mar 26 '14 at 21:48
  • You forgot to put your sentence in brackets. – Oldcat Mar 26 '14 at 21:50
  • There's a big difference between 'You may put a complete sentence in parentheses' and 'You must put a complete sentence in parentheses'. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 26 '14 at 22:07

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