What is the general rule concerning capitalisation of a word in parentheses that immediately follows the first word of a sentence and acts a "clarifier" for this first word? In other words, the word in parentheses provides more precise information.


(i) Set (Align) the discs. vs (ii) Set (align) the discs.


The general rule is that English does not capitalize random words in the middle of a sentence. That includes random words between parentheses.

Set (align) the discs.

  • Firstly, I don't regard the word in parentheses as random - the point here is that that word is linked in meaning to the first word for this sentence (it is 'more precise' than the first word). Secondly, the parentheses here with the inserted word form the second element of the sentence (and not the third, fourth or whatever). – user130156 Jul 22 '15 at 15:48
  • 1
    You asked a question. I answered it. This is the answer to your question. "Set (align)" is right. "Set (Align)" is wrong. What else is it that you need. – RegDwigнt Jul 22 '15 at 15:55
  • (it is 'more precise' than the first word) . Then why not use just the precise word and obviate the need for parentheses? – Margana Jul 22 '15 at 18:26
  • Though the appositive echoes the first word of the sentence, it is not capitalised (unless for another reason) as it is not actually the first word of the sentence. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 22 '15 at 18:51
  • Margana - A simple reason; it is a translation of "Die Scheiben einstellen (ausrichten)" from a German operating manual, and I decided not to take such a liberty! – user130156 Jul 22 '15 at 19:06

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