1. northernpsyche
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    northernpsyche Member

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    The problem with brackets

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by northernpsyche, Oct 14, 2012.

    Are brackets a big no no? I often see them used in what I read but read somewhere that they are (bad form).
     
  2. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I tend to use brackets when I want to add something, like an after-thought. I see no problem with them either should you. I find it amusing when some believe certain punctuation is bad or unpopular and should be avoid and stop using it because if this. As far as I'm concerned it's all good - if you seen it in newly publish work, its in.

    I hope that helps
     
  3. northernpsyche
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    northernpsyche Member

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    Oops, just realised i misplaced the bracket in that post (now that is bad form).
    I think you make a very valid point. if i think they will fit i'll use them.

    That did help thanks.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To be clear, you mean parentheses, correct? In UK usage, the term brackets apparently mean (), but in the US, brackets typically mean []. In a broader sense, ()[]{} and <> are all brackets, al,though they are not interchangeable.


    Parenthetical phrases, expressions that can be removed without altering the overall meaning, can be delimited three different ways. The previous sentence contains such a phrase. In approximate order of increasing emphasis, parenthecicals can be enclosed in commas, parentheses, or em-dashes.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and the alternatives cog listed are preferable to parentheses [ ( ) ] for fiction, imo...
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Technically () are parentheses in the UK too, but yes, we often say "brackets" instead. Maybe "parentheses" takes too long to say, and outside computer programming and mathematics the other sorts are rarely encountered so it's not usually worth making the distinction. (UK computer programmers do tend to make the distinction, and will tend to call () "parens").

    As you say, the choice between commas, parentheses and em-dashes (or open en-dashes nowadays in the UK) is one of emphasis, although I mainly seem to see parentheses in comic writing so there may be other stylistic issues at play.
     

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