It is a form of punctuation that looks like this: ( )
Used sparingly, parentheses add clarity and/or additional information to sentences:
1) Use parentheses to enclose clarifying information or an aside.
For example: Edwayne paid Junior and PeteJoe twenty-five smackaroos ($25) for the snake rattler they delivered, no questions asked, no mama notified. Snake rattlers on sticks (an alleged Native-American, low-country art form) sold great to the slick tourists with their whiny-mouthed tots.
2) Use complete parentheses to enclose the numbers for a list.
For example: Rattlers on sticks are used for (1) fending off evil spirits, (2) calling down the rains, and (3) scaring little sisters.
3) Caution! Watch your period placement. If parentheses enclose an aside or a clarification at the end of the sentence, the period is placed outside of the parentheses. If parentheses enclose an entire sentence, the period is enclosed within the parentheses.
For example: For certain, if PeteJoe and Junior's mama caught them selling snake rattlers, she would switch them good (and she had a nose for detecting the smell of snake). (The best plan of action for the boys was to use some of their profit to buy lemons for scrubbing their hands.) But Edwayne paid those youngins so well, they were willing to risk the snake's bite and their mama's venom.
Parentheses are a lot easier to explain than mixed conditionals. Hallelujah. What are the common misconceptions about parentheses? Why would we not want to overuse them, as I surely did in my example above?
Tomorrow: Quotation Marks
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