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chapter 6.10 Capitalization and Punctuation: Parentheses

Parentheses set off information that is not essential to the sentence.
The price was low ($3.50), so I didn't mind paying.
Any extra information is an interruption (see commas), but parentheses are useful when the interruption is too long to be set off with commas, or when the writer wants to separate the information from the rest of the sentence more completely than would be possible with commas. The interruption may be a phrase:
I didn't go anywhere (except to the mailbox) until noon.
Sometimes the interruption is a whole sentence:
The roads (you'll be delighted to hear this) were completely dry by then.
pencil Application 16 pencil Application 17

Quotation marks and parentheses always come in sets. When you mark the start of a quotation, the reader imagines a new voice entering. That new voice continues until you mark the end of the quotation. When you mark the start of a parenthetical interruption, the reader will be looking for the end in order to see where the main sentence picks up again. Don't leave the reader hanging with only one half of either set.

TIP FOR ESL STUDENTS:
Click on the ESL icon at left to visit "Question and Quotation Marks" for help recognizing the form and placement of these marks in English. Practice these forms with a teacher or tutor.


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