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Brackets/Round Brackets or Parentheses

round brackets

British English
(  ) = brackets or round brackets

American English
(  ) = parentheses

Round brackets are basically used to add extra information to a sentence. Look at these examples:

  1. explain or clarify
    • Tony Blair (the former British prime minister) resigned from office in 2007.
  2. indicate plural or singular
    • Please leave your mobile telephone(s) at the door.
  3. add a personal comment
    • Many people love parties (I don't).
  4. define abbreviations
    • The matter will be decided by the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

Some grammarians believe that (whenever possible) we should use commas.
Some grammarians believe that, whenever possible, we should use commas.

Remember that the full stop, exclamation mark or question mark goes after the final bracket (unless the brackets contain a complete sentence). Look at these examples:

  • My car is in the drive (with the window open).
  • I just had an accident with our new car. (Sssh! My husband doesn't know yet.)
  • The weather is wonderful. (If only it were always like this!)
  • The party was fantastic (as always)!
  • Do you remember Johnny (my brother's friend)?
  • Johnny came too. (Do you remember Johnny?) We had a great time.