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PUNCTUATION > Apostrophe > Colon > Comma > Dash > Exclamation > Parenthesis > Period > Questionmark > Quotations > Semicolon

Punctuation marks: How to use the PARENTHESIS

PARENTHESISThe word "parenthesis" is singular. (
The word "parentheses" is plural. ( )

The parenthesis is commonly used in pairs. Writers use parentheses to enclose words or phrases which have no essential connection with the rest of the sentence, but are important to comprehend the meaning of the sentence. Writers prefer the dash over the parenthesis because the dash is easier to make and printers think the dash looks better in a sentence. The parenthesis has distinct uses besides making a sentence look pretty.

Rules for the Use of the Parenthesis

1) Use parentheses to introduce text into a sentence which is not essentially connected with the rest of the sentence, but aids in making it clear.

EX.— Trouble began when the student (who had been strictly forbidden to do so) began running in the hallway.

EX.— A cat (not a dog) purrs.

EX.— This year (2012) Apple released a new version of its iPad.

2) Use the parenthesis in reports of speeches to enclose the name of a person to whom you've referred, or to indicate expressions on the part of the audience.

EX.— The President of the Nike, Inc. who has just spoken (Mr. Parker) has plenty of knowledge of international law. (Applause.)

3) You can decide to use parentheses to enclose interrogation points or exclamation points when you want to cast doubt on a statement or to express surprise or contempt. This rule is rarely used—and it makes the sentence look grammatically odd.

EX.— He said that on the fifth of January (?) he was in New York.
EX.— This is the most tastefull (!) piece of cake.

4) Parentheses are used, generally in pairs, sometimes singly, to enclose the reference letters or figures used to mark division and classification in arguments or in precise statements.

EX.— This is done because: (a) it is clearer; (b) it is shorter.

EX.— These signs may be printed in several ways.
(a) a) (') a) (1) 1) O J)

NOTE.— The italic form of parenthesis is objectionable. Generally, when we italicize a word enclosed in parentheses, we do not italicized the parenthesis enclosing the word. The italic parenthesis may be used in job-work or full display lines of italic letters.

5) Do not use parentheses to enclose explanatory matter. Dashes are preferable for this purpose. You may, however, use parentheses in place of dashes if you inject a sentence or other word-group into the sentence (to make the sentence clearer), as in:

EX.— The agreement reached between us (I should write about it at greater length in my next post) provides payment of $12,000 in installments. We have in our building a large number of chemists, geologists and mechanics (such as scientists, electricians, and engineers).

7) Omit the comma immediately in front of either the opening or closing parenthesis which contains a sentence or clause:

EX.— I have agreed to extend the time of payment (I am using my best judgment), and I hope you will approve.

NOTE.— The rule is that the punctuation required after that part of the sentence which precedes the first parenthesis must be carried over and placed after the second parenthesis. This applies to all punctuation marks.

8) If you enclose text in parentheses which is preceded and followed by parts of the sentence, you do not need a punctuation mark after the parentheses such as a comma.

EX.— I am judging by appearances (not guessing) that he is all right.

9) If you enclose a detached sentence in parentheses, place the period at the end inside the second parenthesis.

EX.— I am sure of it myself. (Mr. Smith does not believe it.)

10) In business correspondence, parentheses are used for setting off a numbered list.

EX.— He gave several reasons for his resignation: (1) advanced age; (2) failing health; (3) a desire to rest.

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PUNCTUATION > Apostrophe > Colon > Comma > Dash > Exclamation > Parenthesis > Period > Questionmark > Quotations > Semicolon