Questions tagged [parentheses]

This tag is concerned with the usage of the glyphs ( and ), known as parentheses (singular parenthesis) in American English and as brackets in British English.

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104 votes
10 answers
18k views

"A/An" preceding a parenthetical statement

When a/an precedes a parenthetical aside (sometimes seen in informal/conversational writing), should the vowel rule depend on the first word in parentheses, or the next word in the "regular" flow of ...
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  • 3,214
29 votes
3 answers
34k views

Parentheses vs. double commas vs. dashes to provide additional detail

When do you use commas and when do you use parentheses to provide more detail about something? For example: The suspect, Tom Wilson, is now being charged with murder. The suspect (Tom Wilson) is now ...
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  • 2,111
15 votes
4 answers
174k views

In which cases is a comma/period placed inside or outside of parentheses?

Are there cases where a period is placed inside parentheses? In which cases the period (or a comma) should be placed inside the parentheses?
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  • 57.6k
14 votes
6 answers
13k views

When a sentence uses a parenthetical plural, should the rest of the sentence treat it as singular or plural?

Consider the following sentence: We assume that the individual(s) possesses some general knowledge of the rules of football. Is "possesses" correct there? Should it be "possess"? Is the rule more ...
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  • 5,847
4 votes
4 answers
8k views

Usage of brackets/parentheses (etc) [closed]

When and how do we use the different kinds of brackets/parentheses — (){}[] — while writing English (not code)?
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92 votes
7 answers
31k views

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses?

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses (for example, if I (meaning myself) write like this)?
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  • 1,023
15 votes
4 answers
131k views

Where does the question mark go — inside or outside the parentheses?

I know that when brackets enclose part of a sentence, the full stop goes outside. I tripped over this morning. I was distracted by a plane (which turned out to be Superman). If it's a full ...
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  • 6,717
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Changing plurality in parentheses

If a set of parentheses lies between a subject and its verb, and the parentheses contain an substitutive subject whose singularity/plurality disagrees with the original subject, whose singularity/...
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14 votes
2 answers
12k views

When to choose em dash over parenthesis for parenthetical phrases?

According to Wikipedia: The em dash, m dash, m-rule, or "mutton" (—) often demarcates a break of thought or some similar interpolation stronger than the interpolation demarcated by parentheses ...
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10 votes
2 answers
12k views

Where to put the periods when using a parenthetical sentence?

I have two complete sentences; the second is in parentheses, essentially a comment on the first. Where do I place the periods? I would use this: They played opera. (I covered my ears.) Is this ...
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37 votes
2 answers
26k views

What is the optional plural form of a word that ends in “‑y”?

I guess “optional plural” is the correct term. I’m referring to things like It can be found at the following location(s). Please pick up your ticket(s). But how do I do that to a word that ends in&...
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6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Singular or plural verb after parenthetical material containing a conjunction?

I would tend to say Sara (and all of us) have a lot to think about now. ...but it occurs to me that if I remove the parenthetical it's clearly incorrect. Is it proper to say Sara (and all of us)...
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  • 361
2 votes
2 answers
4k views

Where should the apostrophe go on a possessive abbreviation?

When expanding an abbreviation in parentheses, sometimes the thing that was abbreviate was used in a possessive context. Consider the following example: If the Giant Ostrich Bomb's (GOB) fuse is ...
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41 votes
1 answer
62k views

How to deal with abbreviations like 'etc.' at the end of parentheses which are closing a sentence?

In Hungarian, when there's a dot both inside and outside parentheses at the end of a sentence, we write it as follows: Sok állatom van (kutya, macska stb.). (Meaning: I've got many animals [dogs, ...
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11 votes
5 answers
41k views

Which would you place in parentheses: the expansion or the abbreviation? [closed]

When dealing with abbreviations, should you parenthesize the abbreviation or its expansion? I have seen it both ways. Can anyone make a good case for preferring one style over the other?
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  • 499
7 votes
2 answers
18k views

When using complete sentences in parenthetical e.g. or i.e. situations, should the first word be capitalized?

In a bulleted list of very technical sentences, where each bulleted item has one or two parenthetical examples or restatements which are complete sentences, should the first letter of each e.g. or i.e....
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  • 371
28 votes
7 answers
110k views

Number agreement when using “(s)” for optional plural

I have a question about the following construction and which instance is correct. Selecting an appropriate study topic(s). Selecting appropriate study topic(s). When it is both singular ...
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8 votes
4 answers
5k views

How do I manage periods for abbreviations with parentheses, right before a period?

"In the case of medical diagnostics, there is a cost associated with each medical procedure that provides additional information (blood test, x-ray, etc.)." Should that end with "etc.).", "etc)." or "...
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  • 183
13 votes
4 answers
10k views

How to write a parenthetical plural when the noun pluralizes irregularly?

What happens if you have a written phrase like We were looking at the same poster(s). but with a noun that has an irregular plural? E.g. with baby/babies, would this be the correct form? We ...
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10 votes
4 answers
951 views

Should enclosing commas be treated as parentheses?

I just read the following in Dan Ariely's book Predictably Irrational, [...] Zoe, and the other kids to whom I offered the same deal, was completely blinded by [...] p. 57 To me it would have ...
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9 votes
3 answers
25k views

Singular or plural verb when pluralisation is used in parentheses [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When a sentence uses an optional plural, should the rest of the sentence treat it as singular or plural? Which is correct? Buy an apple from the vendor(s) that are selling ...
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0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Correct rule for placement of a pair of parenthetical commas in a sentence

What is the correct rule for placement of a pair of parenthetical commas in a sentence? Let me explain the problem with the following example sentence wherein any person would find the people placing ...
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26 votes
7 answers
40k views

What is the common name for brackets, braces, and parentheses?

I need to name a variable containing ()[]{}, what is the common name for all of them? Two side questions: parentheses is plural, or singular, or both? is abbreviating it as parens understandable?
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6 votes
2 answers
37k views

How do you make a word like "parent(s)" possessive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? "Please submit your and your parent(s)' federal tax returns." Is the possessive of "parent(s)'" correctly formatted in ...
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  • 61
2 votes
3 answers
987 views

(I'm not sure) how to capitalize this sentence

When a sentence begins with a parenthetical clause (uncommon, I'm sure), how should the following portion be capitalized? My thought is it would be either (In my opinion, at least[,]) the play was ...
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  • 8,564
1 vote
1 answer
607 views

What is the correct usage of the question mark when using a subsequent parenthesis?

Is this the correct use of the question mark? Should it be at the end outside of the closing bracket? See example below How do we deliver it? (to the learner)
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  • 11
60 votes
15 answers
7k views

If an insertion in parentheses ends with a smiley, how do I distinguish between the two?

I know smileys are not part of written language (yet), and any questions about them are irrelevant to linguistics and are kind of not serious. So take my question with a smiley then. It bugs me ...
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  • 1,069
25 votes
3 answers
64k views

Is there a grammatical rule for using "read" between parentheses? [closed]

As an example: I am bored (read: lazy). I wish to know if English Grammar has a formal construct for this usage.
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5 votes
4 answers
5k views

Parentheses around more than one paragraph

Does English allow one to put parentheses around more than one paragraph? Example: Paragraph 1. (Paragraph 2. Paragraph 3.) Paragraph 4. (Of course, this is just a simple example. ...
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  • 269
1 vote
1 answer
3k views

Is it "room(s)" or "room/s" when referring to the possibility of more than one of something? [Parenthetical plurals]

When offering the possibility that there could be more than one of something, how should that be written? Eg. You will be responsible for the cost of your room(s). Or should it be "room/s"?
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6 votes
3 answers
108k views

(Parentheses (inside parentheses)) [duplicate]

As you saw in the title, parentheses inside parentheses don't look too good. But, gramatically speaking, is it correct to do this? For example: Go to this site (you should probably check it out, it'...
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  • 143
3 votes
1 answer
5k views

Multiple sentences inside parenthesis

I have read the few questions about punctuations in parenthesis, but I think none of them answers my question. I've looked at: Where does the question mark go — inside or outside the parentheses? In ...
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  • 61
2 votes
4 answers
17k views

How do I deal with quotation marks, parenthesis and period all at the end of a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the period go when using parentheses? I have never seen this particular issue addressed; I looked around and couldn't see anything that specifically addresses this. ...
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  • 67
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Compound adjective that contains an acronym + parentheses?

When using a compound adjective that contains an acronym, where do you place the hyphen and parentheses? I am describing a gene which contains cAMP response element (CRE). So is it: cAMP response ...
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  • 11
0 votes
3 answers
50k views

Double parentheses [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it acceptable to nest parentheses? Are you allowed to have parentheses within parentheses in English? Something like "(I did that because I wanted to (and the want came ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
5k views

Lowercase Letter in Brackets [duplicate]

Please look at the following sentence with the bracketed lowercase letter. “Doctor Rogers' thesis states that ‘[p]atients often display psychosomatic symptoms.’ ” Is the author decapitalizing the ...
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  • 2,353
16 votes
4 answers
46k views

What does an exclamation mark inside parentheses "(!)" mean?

What does an exclamation mark inside parentheses "(!)" mean? I saw this in a book review I was reading and I didn't understand what the use of it was. Can someone help me?
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  • 641
6 votes
4 answers
26k views

Using i.e. in parentheses

When a writer uses parentheses to define a phrase or clarify a word in a sentence, is it appropriate also to use i.e. in the parentheses? That use seems redundant to me.
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8 votes
3 answers
10k views

What are the correct ways to express parenthetical comments?

I've seen parenthetical comments that are inserted mid-sentence (like this) and I've also seen parenthetical comments that are inserted after the terminal punctuation symbol of a sentence. (Like this.)...
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  • 1,061
8 votes
2 answers
42k views

Exclamation mark before closing parenthesis [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the question mark go — inside or outside the parentheses? Consider this: Even a fool gets to be young once (but not twice!). Do you understand? The parentheses ...
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  • 685
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Do parenthetical statements change subject-verb agreement? [duplicate]

When I need to focus on a specific instance of a subject, but want to include a clarifying remark making it plural, I may set off that secondary statement like this: The state of Florida (and 27 ...
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15 votes
3 answers
100k views

Use of "e.g." — are parentheses necessary?

Is it appropriate to use "e.g." in a sentence without using parentheses? This administrative access control should provide visibility into access via multiple vectors (e.g. group access rights ...
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  • 566
2 votes
3 answers
3k views

Continuing a sentence in a parenthesis and then starting a new one inside the same

Take a look at this meaning: By the way, I marked position 2854 (in the code. It's the slash). Is is correct to start a new sentence within a parenthesis like this? Or another, worse, example: ...
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  • 623
1 vote
1 answer
3k views

Parenthesis and apostrophes

If there is a noun, then parenthesis or a comma, where should a 's go? For example: The dog (who was very big)'s ears perked up. or The dog's (who was very big) ears perked up. or The dog's,...
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  • 138
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Entire sentence in parentheses

I am formatting a new book for my company and ran into a problem. There is a sentence that reads: Before beginning, watch Part I in the DVD series, God & the History of Art. (If available as ...
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  • 143
1 vote
1 answer
434 views

Period placement in a sentence containing both parantheses and quotes

Which of the following is correct: (This is a "test"). (This is a "test.") (This is a "test".)
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  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

Singular or plural after optional parentheses [duplicate]

Which one is the correct one? I had no idea San Diego (and its surrounding areas) is that crowded. or I had no idea San Diego (and its surrounding areas) are that crowded. And would the ...
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  • 1,097
1 vote
1 answer
325 views

Manage abbreviations before parantheses at the end of a sentence

There are already topics very close to my question, but not quite there. Does anyone know what to do about this: We review our accounts p.a. (at the end of the year). Normally, without the text in ...
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1 vote
2 answers
67 views

Should I pluralize based on an item in parentheses [duplicate]

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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
6k views

Brackets within brackets

I'm writing an academic paper and have added some information within a set of brackets. I have then added a citation to this piece of information, which has now left me with this sentence: A total ...
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