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Rounded Brackets (Also known as [US.] Parentheses, written ')' & '('contain material that serves to clarify, or is aside from the main point. A milder effect may be obtained by using a pair of commas as the delimiter, though if the sentence contains commas for other purposes, visual
W book
English Grammar & Typography


Epershand (Ampersand)

Thorn

Aitch (Hetch)


Semicolon

Round Brackets

confusion may result.

Parentheses may be used in formal writing to add supplementary information, such as "Sen. John McCain (R., Arizona) spoke at length." They can also indicate shorthand for "either singular or plural" for nouns – e.g., "the claim(s)" – or for "either masculine or feminine" in some languages with grammatical gender.

Grammatically Correct UsageEdit

Parentheses may be nested (generally with one set (such as this) inside another set). This is not commonly used in formal writing (though sometimes other brackets [especially square brackets] will be used for one or more inner set of parentheses, [in other words, secondary {or even tertiary} phrases can be found within the main parenthetical sentence]).

Any punctuation inside parentheses or other brackets is independent of the rest of the text: "Mrs. Pennyfarthing (What? Yes, that was her name!) was my landlady." In this usage, the explanatory text in the parentheses is a parenthesis. (Parenthesized text is usually short and within a single sentence. Where several sentences of supplemental material are used in parentheses the final full stop would be within the parentheses. Again, the parenthesis implies that the meaning and flow of the text is supplemental to the rest of the text and the whole would be unchanged were the parenthesized sentences removed.)

Parenthetical PhrasesEdit

Parenthetical phrases have been used extensively in informal writing and stream of consciousness literature. Examples include the southern American author William Faulkner (see Absalom, Absalom! and the Quentin section of The Sound and the Fury) as well as poet E. E. Cummings. Parentheses have historically been used where the dash is currently used—that is, in order to depict alternatives, such as "parenthesis)(parentheses". Examples of this usage can be seen in editions of Fowler's.

Other UsageEdit

Parentheses are included in the syntaxes of many computer programming languages. Typically needed to denote an argument; to tell the compiler what data type the Method/Function needs to look for first in order to initialise.

Parentheses in mathematics signify a different precedence of operators. For example: 2 + 3 × 4 equals 14, since the multiplication is done before the addition. However, (2 + 3) × 4 equals 20, because the parentheses override normal precedence, causing the addition to be done first.

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