Punctuation For Beginners: All About Brackets

Punctuation For Beginners: All About Brackets

Welcome to the seventh post in the series: Punctuation For Beginners. This post is all about brackets.

Punctuation is the name for the marks we use in writing. Punctuation marks are tools that have set functions. We use them to give a sentence meaning and rhythm.

These are the most common punctuation marks:

  1. The Full Stop
  2. The Comma
  3. The Question Mark
  4. The Exclamation Mark
  5. The Semicolon
  6. The Colon
  7. The Hyphen
  8. The Em Dash
  9. The Bracket or Parenthesis
  10. The Inverted Comma/Quotation Mark
  11. The Ellipsis
  12. The Bullet Point
  13. The Apostrophe

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Today, I will be writing about brackets.

What are brackets?

Brackets are punctuation marks. There are two main types of brackets:

Round Brackets

Round brackets ( ) separate off information that isn’t essential to the meaning of the rest of the sentence. They are also known as parentheses, especially in American English.

If you remove the bracketed words the sentence still makes sense.

Example: Peter decided (after an hour’s delay) that he would take the offer.

Round brackets can also be used to add a comment by the person writing.

Example: They were going to get caught (even though they were innocent).

Tip: Brackets are not part of the subject of the sentence. Example: He (and his wife) was always late.

Square Brackets

Square brackets [ ] enclose words added by someone other than the original writer or speaker, typically in order to clarify the situation. They are known as brackets in American English.

Square brackets are like interruptions. They are used to explain or comment on a statement.

Example: Mr Hills [the plaintiff] did not want to press charges.

At The End

If round or square brackets are used at the end of a sentence, the full stop should be placed outside the brackets, as the final punctuation.


They wanted to have a holiday in Australia (Sarah’s dream destination).
Ken was unsure about the day [Wednesday].

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

 by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Hyphens & Em Dashes
  2. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Colons & Semicolons
  3. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Question & Exclamation Marks
  4. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Commas
  5. Punctuation For Beginners: All About Full Stops
  6. Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

Posted on: 20th February 2018