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From Chapter 5, 'Punctuation'

5.3   Parentheses and Brackets

If you are using the term ‘brackets’ it is important, where relevant, to specify ‘square brackets’, ‘round brackets’ (or ‘parentheses’), ‘angle brackets’, i.e. , or ‘braces’, i.e. { }.

Parentheses, i.e. round brackets, are used for parenthetical statements and references within a text. When a passage within parentheses falls at the end of a sentence of which it is only a part, the final full stop is placed outside the closing parenthesis:

This was well reviewed at the time (for instance in TLS, 9 July 1971, p. 817).

When a complete sentence is within parentheses, the final full stop should be inside the closing parenthesis. Parentheses may be used within parentheses:

(His presidential address (1967) made this point clearly.)

Square brackets should be used for the enclosure of phrases or words which have been added to the original text or for editorial and similar comments:

He adds that ‘the lady [Mrs Jervis] had suffered great misfortunes’.

I do not think they should have [two words illegible].

He swore to tell the truth, the old [sic] truth, and nothing but the truth.

For the use of square brackets around ellipses, see 5.7. For the use of square brackets in references to the publication of books, see 11.2.2.

In some MHRA series and journals, the practice is to use square brackets or parentheses around translations that follow, or are included in, quotations from an original text.


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