Quick question, if the original quote is "You are..." but I'm attempting to combine the two words, would the correct way to use brackets be:

a. [You're] (entire word in bracket)

b. You['re] (contraction in bracket)

Thanks so much!

2 Answers 2


I don't see much importance and necessity in contracting that word, especially since it is a quote which means you have to respect what the source said and how the source said it.

Brackets have many usages in quotations, depending on the purpose and the situation.

For example, the following brackets were used for clarification:

The leader of the opposition said that she "will not allow what they [the government side] are pushing for."

Other usages can be found here: http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/brackets.html#clarification

But other than that, I assume the reason you want to use brackets is to solely contract the two words, which, in my opinion, is not necessary since it seems to be a direct quotation.


Strictly on the topic of bracket usage: Entire word in bracket indicates that you modified a word completely (perhaps added a new one) and that no part of this new modification was in the original writing. For example: I think [you're] silly. The original text then may be "I think silly". This means the word you're was not originally there and that you added it into the text.

By modifying it the second way, you're indicating that the original word of "You" (as it is written) was there, but you've added "'re" to it; therefore, it can be said that the second option is the correct one with one condition: since the original parts of the are word are gone, you must use an ellipsis (...) to make that work.

It would then look like this: You['re]...something something

  • Then explain this answer? english.stackexchange.com/a/2272/128373 Nov 11, 2018 at 19:14
  • You say that brackets mean that "no part of this new modification was in the original writing." So taking your advice literally, shouldn't the right answer be You[']re? Nov 11, 2018 at 19:14
  • No? Because then you're omitting an "a"? I was thinking that he should have added an ellipsis (...) if he did that modification, but I didn't mention it. I don't know why. Maybe because it was 3 AM when I wrote that answer. Lol. I admit I should have added more information to clarify what I meant. It would, 100%, work if he did the proper modifications to the text, I believe. It's not exactly a GOOD modification, but he didn't ask if it were good or not--he asked what would be correct. Second option is easier as a modification than the first. Nov 11, 2018 at 19:15
  • But you can omit things when you put in brackets. For example, if you change He went to the store to [h]e went to the store, everybody knows that the original was He went ... and not e went. By your rule, it should be You[']re. And the whole point of brackets is to make it clear what was left out. If you use You['re] talking nonsense, people will think the original was You talking nonsense. Nov 11, 2018 at 20:41
  • 2
    Ensuring clarity is more important than blindly following the rules. Nov 11, 2018 at 20:44

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