Grammar Tip – Parentheses and Punctuation ( )

1. Parentheses ( ) are used to insert explanatory information within a sentence or paragraph. Use them when you want to provide additional information that really isn’t essential to the reader.


This was the best year we’ve had in a long time (in terms of sales).?Note: The period is outside the parentheses because in terms of sales is not a sentence.

I would like to attend his lecture. (I hear he’s a dynamic speaker.) However, there may not be enough time.

Note: Because the words in the parentheses form a complete sentence, the period is placed inside the parentheses. You must also place a period at the end of the preceding sentence.

2. Parentheses are also used to enclose references.


The study shows that most people prefer to eat lunch at their desks (see figure 3).

The study shows that most people prefer to eat lunch at their desks. (See figure 3 in the appendix for the complete study results.)

Note: If the reference forms a complete sentence, place the period inside the parentheses.

3. Parentheses are also used to explain abbreviations and acronyms.


Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA)

Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA)

Note: There is no need to include periods in uppercase abbreviations.

Will this information help you? (I would like to think so.)