Are there cases where a period is placed inside parentheses? In which cases the period (or a comma) should be placed inside the parentheses?


The Penguin Handbook says it more clearly than I could:1

  1. Examine the material enclosed by parentheses. Is it an entire sentence? If so, place the period inside the closing parenthesis.
  2. If the parenthetical material is part of another sentence, place the period outside the closing parenthesis.
  3. Sometimes the parenthetical material is part of a longer sentence part that will be set off by a comma, colon, or semicolon. These pieces of punctuation always come after the parenthetical material, never before it or inside the parentheses.

See also Brians's Common Errors and Wikipedia.

1Except that my examples were going to involve monkeys and saxophones. Theirs are pretty boring.

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From the Guardian style guide:


If the sentence is logically and grammatically complete without the information contained within the parentheses (round brackets), the punctuation stays outside the brackets.

(A complete sentence that stands alone in parentheses starts with a capital letter and ends with a stop.)

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  • Great answer, so I upvoted it, but one question, can you ALWAYS put a comma inside a parenthesis in AMERICAN STYLE? For example: As long as you've watched the first season (which covers the first novel,) that shouldn't be a problem. – The Beast Feb 7 '18 at 13:28
  • I don't think so. – Hugo Feb 8 '18 at 6:39

If what is enclosed in the brackets is a complete sentence, it makes sense to put the full stop inside the sentence too. (Here’s an example.) If the bracketed words form part of a sentence that is not itself bracketed, then there is no reason not to put the full stop where it would go anyway, at the end of the sentence (like this).

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The punctuation should reside with the text it refers to (in other words, full stops only if you have parenthetical sentences). In general, you should think carefully about whether full stops inside brackets indicate that you need to restructure (there are cases where it is perfectly valid. The point is that often it would be better expressed by reforming the sentences). That last one I struggle with, because you really need (or should I say would like?) two full stops, for two end of sentences.

However IMO, if two full stops should be needed, then only put one outside (does this imply that the bracket serves to complete the sentence?).

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  • I think your final sentence should just be two sentences: "However, in my opinion, if two full stops should be needed, then only put one outside. (Does this imply that the bracket serves to complete the sentence?)" – Wildcard Jan 5 '17 at 22:47

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