Enclosing single words, phrases or even sentences, parentheses are punctuation marks that add extra information in a sentence. Always written in pairs, they are always written within a text or paragraph.
Also known as square brackets, brackets are often used to indicate the addition of extra words in a direct quotation. This is necessary to bring clarity or context when quoting a person or document. If a direct quote is changed, it’s vital to use brackets to avoid a misquoting the person or document.
Example: Johnny left the room (to get himself a snack).
Adrianne cried “Johnny didn’t tell me that he was going to do it [leave the room].”
Parentheses, Brackets and Other Punctuations
Parentheses, brackets and the words within them should be treated as separate elements that are not part of the sentence. So, if the parentheses or brackets are removed, the sentence should still be understandable and complete.
If they pertain only to the phrase inside parentheses, other punctuations like periods, question marks and exclamation marks should be placed inside the parenthesis. If they belong to the whole sentence, place the appropriate punctuation at the end of the sentence. Remember to never place a comma right before a closing parenthesis.
Example: Do you know what my daughter (Anna) has done?
Ben climbed the wall (with a rope?) to win the prize.