July 29, 2008
Next in our series on the proper use of punctuation marks is that curved couplet, parentheses (who doesn’t love this digression-inducing duo?).
Following are some of the most common things that should be put in parentheses:
Information that is not essential to a sentence
Anyone who loves dark chocolate (myself included) was thrilled to learn of its health benefits.
A word or phrase that clarifies an ambiguous pronoun
John and Andy enjoyed their summer vacations.
“He (Andy) traveled to visit his family,” she explained.
A word or phrase that translates technical and obscure terms
The man was diagnosed with glioblastoma (brain tumor).
Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson
She writes for the Auburn (Mass.) News.
A note on punctuation
If the copy in parentheses appears within a sentence: Do not use a capital letter or period to punctuate that copy, even if the copy is a complete sentence. However, feel free to use a question mark or exclamation point when appropriate.
See the first sentence of this post for an example.
If the copy in parentheses is written as a separate sentence: Punctuate it as if it were a separate sentence.
The couple traveled to Hawaii to celebrate their 25th anniversary. (You may recall that they went there on their honeymoon.)