Which of the following two sentences is correct:

Jon (and Michael) is smart.
Jon (and Michael) are smart.

This example is clearly contrived but my question is whether the sentence should be grammatically correct when you erase the text in parentheses (Jon is smart) or should it be grammatically correct when read with the text in parentheses (Jon and Michael are smart).

marked as duplicate by Jason Bassford, TaliesinMerlin, TrevorD, sumelic, jimm101 Mar 13 at 15:09

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Parentheticals do not count. See also previous related posts. Good Luck. – Kris Mar 12 at 8:16
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    I just wouldn't use parantheses in sentences like this! – Tim Foster Mar 12 at 10:32
  • @TimFoster - Yeah, me either- Michael’s an idiot... – Jim Mar 12 at 18:26
  • @Kris If you need to see how something happens to have been printed to get its grammar right, then you are doing it all wrong. Grammar is about the language itself, its syntax and its morphology, not about how someone or other set it out in writing or printing or Braille. Therefore if you cannot here it, it does not count. – tchrist Mar 12 at 20:08
  • The proper answer is to rewrite any such sentence to avoid the issue. – TrevorD Mar 13 at 0:19

Note the use of is in this sentence: My friend (and her brother) is coming today. The subject is My friend. Despite appearances, parentheses are never part of the subject.

According to https://data.grammarbook.com/blog/commas/all-about-parentheses/

  • 2
    If you downvote, I'd appreciate knowing the reason. That way, I can improve it. – DracoTomes Mar 12 at 13:56
  • Grammar is a feature only of real language, which means that it is only about what can be spoken and heard, not about writing technology. Can you hear parentheses? – tchrist Mar 12 at 20:04
  • @DracoTomes Never mind the down votes. – Kris Mar 14 at 8:10

No, you should not.

A phrase or sentence inside the paranthases is used to add some detail to the running sentence to make it better for the reader to understand without breaking the flow of it.

Therefore, it is completely a new sentence and should not participate in the grammar of the existing one because that would break the flow, which is the last thing we want.

  • 1
    Grammar is spoken not written. And parentheses cannot be heard. – tchrist Mar 12 at 20:01
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    @tchrist what do you mean? Can you please elaborate? – Infinity Mar 12 at 20:17
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    Read it aloud to someone. Don't tell them anything about its typography. Ask them what sounds right. – tchrist Mar 12 at 20:19
  • @Infinity Right. However, to qualify as an answer and not just a comment, it needs to be substantiated further. Read the FAQ. Good Luck. – Kris Mar 14 at 8:10
  • @Kris Thank you Sir/Ma'am. I am new here, can you please reframe the answer in your own words to show me how a perfect answer should be, in case you have sufficient time. Thank you – Infinity Mar 14 at 8:21

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