Rules for Placement of Punctuation With Parentheses

Punctuation is an essential element for making your written text coherent and readable. Proper punctuation plays a vital role in written English. It enables the reader to comprehend the text better. And when you need to offer additional information or an afterthought to the reader, punctuation with parentheses will do the job.

Let’s explore more about parenthesis and its usage in English grammar.

Parenthesis or Paranthesis – Which Is Correct?

“Paranthesis” is the most common misspelled spelling for the correct word “Parenthesis.” People have frequently misspelled this word with other variations like “prenthesis,” “parenthasis,” “parenthese,” and more.

But to answer your question, the correct spelling is “Parenthesis,” and its plural form is “Parentheses.”

What Is Parentheses?

Parentheses () come in pairs to enclose information and separates it from the primary concept of a sentence. They allow a writer to add more information to a sentence or paragraph. The parenthetical material could be anything from words or phrases to complete sentences.

The text within parentheses must not be grammatically essential to the primary sentence. But if it is, make sure to rewrite the sentence. Simply omit the parenthetical statement from the sentence. Then if the sentence looks grammatically correct, the parentheses are permitted; otherwise, it’s not.

In the case of formal writing, it is preferable to avoid parenthesis and brackets in the sentences.

boy wearing gray vest and pink dress shirt holding book
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Punctuation With Parentheses

You should be able to eliminate the parenthetical material and keep the meaning of the original sentence intact. Parentheses are used in many situations, and it is vital to know the correct placement of punctuation with parentheses to convey the correct meaning.

Placement of Periods

1. Parenthetical sentence that comes at the end of a sentence.

If the enclosed statement is a distinct and complete sentence, then the period, at the end, must be placed inside the parentheses.

Example: We arrived very late at the wedding. (The ceremony was already over by then.)

2. Parenthetical phrase that comes at the end of a sentence.

When a phrase is used in parentheses at the end of a sentence, the period appears outside the parentheses.

Example: We booked our tickets for the Maldives (my favorite vacation spot).

3. Parenthetical sentence that is in the middle of a sentence.

When a complete parenthetical sentence appears in the middle of a sentence, it doesn’t require a period. Also, the first letter of the enclosed statement need not be capitalized.

Example: Our twelve-hour journey (our longest journey ever) made us sick and exhausted.

Placement of Commas

Commas are usually placed outside of the parenthesis.

Incorrect: After opening the chocolate box, (and eating a few) we divided them into three portions.

Correct: After opening the chocolate box (and eating a few), we divided them into three portions.

Placement of Question or Exclamation Marks

For parenthetical statements that are exclamations or questions, the exclamation and question mark is placed inside the parentheses.

Example: John received an award for getting the world-highest score in his O Level Economics Exam. (Can you imagine that?)

To Wrap Up

The placement of punctuation with parenthesis varies from where you place the period, comma, and question or exclamation marks.

Knowing where to place them in relation to other punctuation can sometimes be challenging. This is especially true for those just beginning to navigate the world of punctuation and grammar. This article provides a quick overview of the rules for using parentheses.

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