Brackets are punctuation marks used in writing to add information to a sentence or to clarify a point. There are two main types of brackets used in writing: round brackets (also called parentheses) and square brackets (also called box brackets).
Round brackets ( ), also known as parentheses, are used to provide additional information that is not essential to the sentence. Square brackets [ ] on the other hand, are used to indicate that a word or phrase has been added to a quote or text for clarity or to provide context. They are often used in academic writing or journalism.
Brackets are a useful tool in writing for providing additional information, clarifying text, and modifying quotes. When using brackets, always remember to use them sparingly and only when necessary.
Round Brackets and How to Use Them
Round brackets (also known as parentheses) are a type of bracket used in writing. They are used to set off explanatory or supplementary information from surrounding text. Here are some examples of how to use round brackets correctly:
- Use round brackets to provide additional information that is not essential to the grammar of the sentence. For example: “The only living monotremes (egg-laying mammals) are platypuses and echidnas.”
- Use round brackets to insert an abbreviation. For example: “The United Nations (UN) was founded in 1945.”
- Use round brackets to show a plural option. For example: “Please bring your ID card(s) with you.”
- Use round brackets to include afterthoughts or explanations. For example: “I love cakes (provided they’re not chocolate).”
Keep in mind that the text enclosed in round brackets should not be essential to the grammar of the sentence. If the information is essential, use commas or dashes instead.
Square Brackets and How to Use Them
Square brackets, also known as brackets, are a type of punctuation mark that is commonly used in writing. They are used to add or clarify information within quoted material. Here are some examples of how to use square brackets:
- To add information: If you need to add information to a quote, you can use square brackets to do so. For example, if someone says, “I love [chocolate]”, you can add the word “dark” in brackets to clarify that they specifically love dark chocolate.
- To clarify pronouns: If a quote includes a pronoun that is unclear, you can use square brackets to clarify the noun that the pronoun is referring to. For example, if someone says, “She gave him the book”, you can add [Mary] and [John] in brackets to clarify who gave the book to whom: “Mary gave [John] the book”.
- To correct errors: If a quote includes an error, you can use square brackets to correct it. For example, if someone says, “I’m going to the store to buy some [bannanas]”, you can correct the spelling to “bananas” in brackets.
Square brackets should not be used interchangeably with round brackets. Square brackets are specifically used to add or clarify information within the quoted material, while round brackets are used for afterthoughts or explainers.
In addition to their use in quotes, square brackets are also used in mathematics for interval notation. In this case, square brackets indicate that the endpoint is included in the interval, while round brackets indicate that the endpoint is not included. For example, [2, 5] represents the interval from 2 to 5, including both endpoints, while (2, 5) represents the interval from 2 to 5, excluding both endpoints.
Common Misconceptions and Errors
Incorrect Use of Brackets
One of the most common misconceptions about brackets is that they are interchangeable. However, this is not the case. Round brackets (also known as parentheses) and square brackets have different uses in writing.
For example, using square brackets to insert information at the end of a sentence is incorrect. This is because square brackets are mainly used to add extra information in quotations that were not present in the original quote. On the other hand, round brackets are used to insert information at the end of a sentence.
Another common mistake is using round brackets to introduce a quotation. This is incorrect because round brackets are mainly used to clarify or provide additional information about a statement. Square brackets, on the other hand, are used to indicate that something has been added to a quotation.
Typo and Ellipsis Error
Another common error is the misuse of ellipses and typos. Ellipses are used to indicate a pause or trailing off of thought, and they should consist of three dots with no spaces between them. Typos, on the other hand, are errors in spelling or grammar that occur during the writing process.
Using too many dots or spacing them incorrectly can change the meaning of a sentence. Additionally, using ellipses excessively can make your writing appear unprofessional.
Examples of Using Round Brackets and Square Brackets
Here are more examples to help you better understand the difference between round brackets and square brackets:
Round Brackets (Parentheses)
- To add supplementary information:
- The concert (which was sold out) was amazing.
- I am going to the party tonight (if I finish my work on time).
- To clarify a pronoun:
- The teacher praised Sarah (she got the highest score in the class).
- To show an abbreviation:
- The United States of America (USA) has a population of over 300 million.
- To indicate changes in a quote:
- “I am [very] happy to be here.”
- “He [the President] will be speaking at the event.”
- To clarify a pronoun:
- The teacher praised [him] (he got the highest score in the class).
- To add information:
- The concert [that I went to last night] was amazing.
- I am going to the [birthday] party tonight (if I finish my work on time).
Round brackets are used to add supplementary information or clarify a pronoun, while square brackets are used to indicate changes in a quote or add information. Knowing the difference between these two types of brackets can help you use them correctly in your writing.