3

I'm finding a lot of questions and answers in general on SE are very liberal in using parenthesis to wrap secondary information within sentences which leads to broken flow and reduced readability.

I've been rewording a lot of these in my Writers review queue and it always seems possible to remove the parenthesis.

I've always felt they are mostly unnecessary and a result of not wording the sentence properly, or not splitting different points into separate sentences.

In this example, I have to pause the main sentence and read the secondary information, then remember what I was reading to finish it off.

I have recently started writing a chapter book ("a story book intended for intermediate readers, generally age 7-10", Wikipedia) but it is only 29 pages and I am nearing the end.

By rewording it to remove the parenthesis and separating the two parts of the original sentence, it reads without interruption and both points are stated clearly (the type of book and the user's conundrum).

I have recently started writing a chapter book, which is "a story book intended for intermediate readers generally between 7-10 years old". The book is only 29 pages long and I am nearing the end.

Am I mostly right in thinking that parentheses should be used sparingly and only when it doesn't break the flow of the sentence, such as how I used them above?

Or perhaps this version to keep the parentheses:

I have recently started writing a chapter book ("a story book intended for intermediate readers generally between 7-10 years old", Wikipedia). The book is only 29 pages long and I am nearing the end.

closed as primarily opinion-based by anongoodnurse, Canis Lupus, Drew, RegDwigнt Oct 24 '14 at 8:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    Seems like no more than a style decision to me. I don't see anything technically wrong with either. I often use parentheses to clarify, and would have probably chosen the former over the latter. I am also a coder and have learned that parentheses are an important feature in disambiguating code. Perhaps it has affected my writing style as well. – Octopus Oct 23 '14 at 23:34
  • @Octopus I'm a programmer also and I understand where you're coming from, but writing is different to programming as you are no doubt aware. Brackets in code are used differently to the way they are used in writing. In code they ensure non-ambiguity whereas in writing they tend to describe non-essential or secondary information about the main point. – Nick Bedford Oct 23 '14 at 23:47
  • “which is” makes me pause and think about whether you’re referring to the concept of a chapter book or your chapter book; I prefer the version with parentheses. – Ry- Oct 24 '14 at 0:45
  • If a reader thinks a parenthesis is redundant/ inappropriate or effects readability, it is most likely the reader is not in sync with the writer's flow of thought. Do not guess. Certainly don't jump to conclusions. Never assume the writer's intent is obvious to you. Even beginners can confound with their "mistakes" trying to do something but doing another instead. – Kris Oct 24 '14 at 6:42
  • My opinion-based opinion - I have not noticed any over-use of parentheses - hence this question is invalid. – Blessed Geek Oct 24 '14 at 8:39