Friday, July 27, 2012

Grammar Day: Parentheses

Grammar is a tricky subject. With all the rules and exceptions, how can a person keep track? I can't answer that, but I can help with little pieces here and there.

Today's Topic: Parentheses

Ever since I learned how to use them, parentheses have had a special place in my grammar-loving heart. (Yes, I know I'm silly.)

Spelling: Parentheses refers to both (), while parenthesis refers to one (. Now you have some useless knowledge to share at your next party.

What's the point? Parentheses are used to separate additional information from the rest of a sentence or paragraph. I like to think of them as side-thoughts. They are connected to the topic, but not perfectly.
We went tubing (our boat sprung a leak) last week.
Punctuation: When the parentheses are part of the sentence, the period goes outside, no matter where the parentheses land.
I enjoyed the tour (mosquitoes and all).
When the parentheses are a separate sentence, the period goes inside.
She said she liked it okay. (Okay is her word for 'not at all'.)
It is almost always possible to avoid using parentheses. I use them in informal writing, but for many pieces I leave them out. This is, of course, personal preference.

I love to learn; let me know what I'm forgetting!

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