Punctuation For Beginners: All About Brackets


Welcome to the seventh post in the series: Punctuation For Beginners.

Punctuation is the name for the marks we use in writing. Punctuation marks are tools that have set functions. We use them to give a sentence meaning and rhythm.

(Look out for the punctuation posts every Tuesday. Sign up for our newsletter to get our Daily Writing Links, and you won’t miss out.)

Today, I will be writing about brackets.

What are brackets?

Brackets are punctuation marks. There are two main types of brackets:

Round Brackets

Round brackets ( ) separate off information that isn’t essential to the meaning of the rest of the sentence. They are also known as parentheses, especially in American English.

If you remove the bracketed words the sentence still makes sense.

Example: Peter decided (after an hour’s delay) that he would take the offer.

Round brackets can also be used to add a comment by the person writing.

Example: They were going to get caught (even though they were innocent).

Tip: Brackets are not part of the subject of the sentence. Example: He (and his wife) was always late.

Square Brackets

Square brackets [ ] enclose words added by someone other than the original writer or speaker, typically in order to clarify the situation. They are known as brackets in American English.

Square brackets are like interruptions. They are used to explain or comment on a statement.

Example: Mr Hills [the plaintiff] did not want to press charges.

At The End

If round or square brackets are used at the end of a sentence, the full stop should be placed outside the brackets, as the final punctuation.

Examples:

They wanted to have a holiday in Australia (Sarah’s dream destination).
Ken was unsure about the day [Wednesday].

Learn how to write for business. Join us for The Plain Language Programme

 by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Hyphens & Em Dashes
  2. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Colons & Semicolons
  3. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Question & Exclamation Marks
  4. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Commas
  5. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Full Stops
  6. Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?