There are three types of brackets:
- round brackets ( ), often called parentheses
- square brackets [ ]
- angle brackets < >
Round brackets (parentheses)
Use round brackets to add extra information to a sentence. You can use em rules or commas instead of brackets.
We plan to hold a writing seminar (originally scheduled for last year) in July.
We plan to hold a writing seminar—originally scheduled for last year—in July.
We plan to hold a writing seminar, which was originally scheduled for last year, in July.
Round brackets and punctuation
If the words inside the brackets aren’t a complete sentence, the full stop or question mark that ends the sentence goes after the brackets.
We’re coming on Friday (31 May).
If the words inside the brackets are a complete sentence, the full stop or question mark that ends the sentence goes inside the brackets.
We decided to hold the meeting on Monday. (The secretary couldn’t come any other day.)
Use square brackets to indicate that you have added words or comments that weren’t in the original material.
‘I appreciate it [the nomination], but cannot accept.’
Angle brackets are often used to enclose email or web addresses.
Email the coordinator <email@example.com> who will collate all the queries.
To learn more about grammar, register for one of Mary’s online grammar programs.