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Parentheses serve several specific functions, but their general purpose is to set a grammatical unit of content off from the surrounding text.
Whoever said this (presumably a basketball coach) didn’t actually say the part in brackets.
That was inserted by the writer to add context for readers.
For example, consider the following: The Homer Simpson reference isn’t essential to the meaning of the sentence, but it’s a humorous aside to the reader. They’re a great way to insert quick jokes in your writing.
You can also use parentheses to list descriptive information, such as in this example: This is the English language, so we should expect some complicating factors.
If the sentence would not require any commas if the parentheses were removed, the sentence should not have any commas when the parentheses are present.
You’ve likely seen writers use parentheses to set apart information from the main sentence. One common issue writers have is how to punctuate parentheses properly, specifically whether to use a comma after parentheses or before.The question is: Do you place the comma after parentheses or before?Generally speaking, commas should never be placed before parentheses.Consider the examples below, and note the proper comma placement: Since the main sentence without the parentheses does not require a comma, it’s not necessary to add a comma when inserting the parentheses.When using commas and parentheses, it’s also important to distinguish commas that punctuate the main sentence from commas that punctuate the material within the parentheses.This is really the only reason writers need to use square brackets. Parentheses are used to express minor thoughts, asides, or humorous additions. Now get out there and write (and enjoy those parentheses)!They can be sentence fragments or complete sentences. When the items in a run-in list (a list appearing within a sentence rather than formatted vertically) are numbered, they should be enclosed in a pair of parentheses (not with a close parenthesis only)—as in “The three types of rocks are (1) igneous, (2) metamorphic, and (3) sedimentary”—but numbering is seldom necessary.Use parentheses in moderation; excessive deployment of the symbols can give text a cluttered appearance (note their ubiquity in this post) and result in an obstacle-ridden narrative flow.Here’s an example: I felt an exclamation point was necessary to underscore my sarcasm, so I included it within the parentheses. Notice that I placed the comma outside the parentheses, since it doesn’t belong to the parenthetical thought.I find it helps to imagine parentheses as a capsule.