A-Z Challenge 2015: B is for Brackets

What are brackets? Brackets are punctuation marks used in pairs. You can have round ( ) or square [ ] brackets.  Brackets are often referred to as parentheses (especially in the US).

Round brackets ( ) are used to enclose an afterthought or additional information. They are also used to present a plural option with a singular one. 

Square brackets [ ] are used to make quoted text clearer by showing insertions by the current author. Square brackets can also be nested (using square brackets [like these] inside round brackets).


  • He finally answered (after taking five minutes to think) that he did not understand the question.
  • “Four score and seven [today we’d say eighty-seven] years ago…”

Are you a bracket user? I know for me that I’ve used parentheses more than I have square brackets.

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13 Responses

  1. Paula Kaye says:

    I have never used square brackets! Never even knew they existed really.

    Smidgen Snippets & Bits

    • R.K. Grow says:

      You are not alone Paula. I remember seeing them here and there but not consistently. I’ve seen them in online journal articles for the most part.

  2. betty says:

    Yep, I am a bracket user 🙂 Funny story, I do medical transcription (typing up what doctors dictate after seeing patients). We have our work on speech recognition these days so it is mainly just editing, going back and listening what the doctor dictated versus what speech recognition caught and then making corrections. Anyway, one doctor from another country, so English is his second language, calls brackets or parentheses paragraph (why I don’t know) so every time he wants brackets, the speech recognition does a new paragraph, which I then have to edit back to what he wants,


    • R.K. Grow says:

      Betty, I love your comment. It demonstrates the perfect way to use brackets! Awesome examples. And your story was funny. I bet that makes it makes your editing process that much longer when you have to delete all of those paragraphs and add brackets.

  3. Hello there.
    Being from the UK, I’m a brackets person (lol). Thanks for sharing.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

    • R.K. Grow says:

      Thank you for stopping by. It’s interesting how brackets are used differently in other countries. Where at in the UK do you live? My mom and sister live over there. London and Ely.

  4. Nick Wilford says:

    I like brackets, but I think they work better in non-fiction than fiction. They’re quite textbooky, especially the square ones!

    • R.K. Grow says:

      I agree Nick. There is definitely a place for brackets, especially the square ones. I rarely see them in any reading that I do. I think the parentheses can work in fiction.

  5. Diane Coto says:

    good reminders! I need to go back and revisit some of my grammar lessons. 🙂

    • Diane Coto says:

      BTW, I gave a shout out to your blog on my C post on FictionZeal.com.

      • R.K. Grow says:

        Thank you so much for the Shout Out on your blog! I just finished reading your C post on adventure stories. Loved it. Love your theme.

    • R.K. Grow says:

      Choosing this theme was to help me remember what I’ve forgotten over the years and to discover new terms I’d never heard of or used. Thanks for stopping by Diane. Have a great week.

  6. Liesel Hill says:

    I don’t think I use brackets much when writing fiction, but it’s nice to see formal definitions for their use. And I do use them in blogging. 😀 Thanks for the info! My B Post

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