Proper Punctuation – Parenthesis

In order to make sure you use proper punctuation, you have to understand parentheses. (You can find out more with a quick search online!) What you put inside parentheses is usually something that isn’t really necessary, or that is secondary. It might clarify something for you readers or help them to understand what you’re thinking. It might also direct readers to something else, such as the example above.

If you want to include parentheses in your writing, there are a few things to remember when placing your punctuation in the sentence.

  • If what is inside is a complete sentence, put the punctuation inside.
    • We were so excited about the party. (He had no idea that it was a surprise!)
  • If you put a complete sentence inside another sentence by using parentheses, don’t capitalize the first letter and don’t use any punctuation- unless it needs a question mark or an exclamation point.
    • I have always loved summer (although spring is a close second) and I can’t wait for it to start.
    • This was the best (and I mean it!) cake I had ever tasted!
  • If it isn’t a complete sentence, follow this rule. If it comes at the end of a sentence, put the punctuation outside.
    • I saw all the clues (red paint, brushes, and an easel).
  • Always use the appropriate punctuation at the end of the sentence. To double check, pretend the parentheses aren’t even there and see what punctuation you would use to end the sentence.

Time4Writing provides practice in this area. Sign up for our Elementary Sentence Structure course or browse other related courses below to find a course that’s right for you.