This is “Parentheses”, section 3.6 from the book Successful Writing (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.

For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. You can browse or download additional books there. To download a .zip file containing this book to use offline, simply click here.

Has this book helped you? Consider passing it on:
Creative Commons supports free culture from music to education. Their licenses helped make this book available to you. helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators.

3.6 Parentheses

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the uses of parentheses.
  2. Properly use parentheses in sentences.

Parentheses ( )Punctuation marks that are used in pairs to contain information that is secondary to the meaning of a sentence. are punctuation marks that are always used in pairs and contain material that is secondary to the meaning of a sentence. Parentheses must never contain the subject or verb of a sentence. A sentence should make sense if you delete any text within parentheses and the parentheses.

Attack of the Killer Potatoes has to be the worst movie I have seen (so far).

Your spinach and garlic salad is one of the most delicious (and nutritious) foods I have ever tasted!

Exercise 1

On your own sheet of paper, clarify the following sentences by adding parentheses. If the sentence is clear as it is, write OK.

  1. Are you going to the seminar this weekend I am?
  2. I recommend that you try the sushi bar unless you don’t like sushi.
  3. I was able to solve the puzzle after taking a few moments to think about it.
  4. Please complete the questionnaire at the end of this letter.
  5. Has anyone besides me read the assignment?
  6. Please be sure to circle not underline the correct answers.

Key Takeaways

  • Parentheses enclose information that is secondary to the meaning of a sentence.
  • Parentheses are always used in pairs.