Open Bracket & Closed Bracket in Writing

Brackets are important punctuations in writing used to denote important information in direct quotes. They come in pairs with an open bracket and a close bracket to enclose information that adds clarifications, corrections, or explanations to written materials.

If you want to dig deeper into their different types and usage, this article can help!

What Is a Bracket in Writing?

A bracket is a pair of punctuation marks that are sometimes referred to as square brackets. Brackets are used to contain additional information or data that isn’t included in the main content. An “opening” and “closing” bracket encloses the extra information.

Open Bracket and Closed Bracket

An open bracket has an open end to its right, while a closed bracket has an open end to its eft. Brackets are the two keys located next to the P key on a US QWERTY keyboard.

A fountain pen with its tip on a black lined paper
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Difference Between Brackets and Parentheses

Brackets [] and parentheses () should not be confused. Brackets are used to clarify, explain, correct, or add a comment to quoted content. On the other hand, parentheses are used to add more information to your writing.

Moreover, brackets should always be used in pairs. When quoting someone, brackets are used to put editorial remarks or insert comments into passages already enclosed in parentheses.

In mathematical expressions, brackets are always included to help the reader perform various operations within an equation.

When to Use Brackets in Writing

Brackets denote essential information in direct quotes or add further explanations to the quote for clarity. This punctuation is used in writing for the following reasons:

1. To add clarification using your own words.

Example: John said, “He won’t [the professor] accept the assignment after the deadline.”

2. To add more information.

Example: Two new writers [Janet and Bendu] from Nigeria joined our content writing team.

3. To add missing words in sentences.

Example: That is not [a] bad idea.

4. To add an editorial or authorial comment.

Example: The girl had really long hair [emphasis added].

5. To modify a direct quotation.

Example: She “love[s] cycling in the morning.” (The original quote was “I love cycling in the morning.”)

To Wrap Up

Brackets are important punctuation used in writing, especially for quoted material. Though brackets and parentheses are often confused by people and used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two.

The differences between these symbols make one of the symbols more suitable than the other in writing based on the context. This article provides adequate information to quickly brush up on your understanding of brackets in the English language.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

The Semicolon: Basic Guide to Effective Usage

The semicolon (;) is a punctuation mark. In English, a semicolon typically indicates that two related independent clauses follow without…

May 31, 2022

Placement of Periods: Before or After Quotations

Punctuation rules used with quotations are sometimes difficult to remember as there are only slight differences. Whether to place punctuation…

May 31, 2022

Quotation Marks: a Unique Guide of Its Use in Writing

When writing, you have to be watchful of the punctuation marks you used to convey a clear message. One type…

May 30, 2022

How to List Questions in a Sentence: A Short Guide

You might have encountered writing a sentence filled with a series of questions, but you don’t know to enumerate them.…

May 30, 2022

English Symbols: A List of Punctuation Marks and Uses

English requires you to have enough knowledge in using basic English Symbols. Alongside an effective conveyance of your main idea,…

May 30, 2022

Do You Capitalize After an Ellipsis?

The use of ellipsis isn’t common thing regular writers do. You may sometimes ask yourself, do you capitalize after an…

May 30, 2022