Tag Archive - parentheses

Do You Know When to Use (Those) Parentheses?

Parentheses sometimes confuse writers. When you want to put something in parentheses within a sentence, the ending punctuation goes outside the parentheses for that entire sentence.

I went to the store (but I didn’t buy anything).

With a separate thought enclosed in parentheses, the punctuation goes inside.

I went to the store. (Really, I didn’t buy anything!)

Want to get a little more complex? If you have two complete sentences inside a parenthesis, only the first sentence gets terminal punctuation:

The instructions (Place tab A in the slot. Leave tab B alone) were confusing.

If you are using a list of sorts in a sentences and you have something in parentheses, put the comma after the parentheses.

I bought eggs, celery (which was a little wilted), and crackers.

I hope (for everyone’s sake) that my explanation makes sense!