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Chapter 28. Mark Me: Punctuation > Pair Off and Square Off: Parentheses and Bra... - Pg. 330

Mark Me: Punctuation 330 Pair Off and Square Off: Parentheses and Brackets According to Mark Twain, "Parentheses in literature and dentistry are in bad taste. Parenthetical expressions are like dentists who grab a tooth and launch into a tedious anecdote before giving the painful jerk." Hmmm .... I think Twain managed to bash both a useful form of punctuation and my favorite health-care provider. Parentheses Parentheses are a pair of curved braces, like this: ( ). Brackets, in contrast, are a pair of squared braces, like this: [ ]. Parentheses are a much more common form of punctuation than brackets. · Use parentheses to set off nonessential information in a sentence. Word Watch These are parentheses: ( ). These are brackets: [ ]. Example: Is it true that a cockroach can live for several weeks without its head? (See Figure 1, page xx.) · Use parentheses to enclose numbers or letters. Examples: Coca-Cola has many uses: (1) it removes rust from the toilet bowl; (2) it cleans rust and paint from a car; and (3) it's also a beverage. Brackets Use brackets for editorial clarification. And that's all, folks. Writer's Block Never correct an error in quoted material; just point it out. Use the word sic. in parentheses to indicate the error. For example: Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1965 (sic). · Use brackets to enclose a comment that interrupts a direct quotation. Examples: Steven Spielberg said, "He [George Lucas] reminded me a little of Walt Disney's version of a mad scientist."