Parenthetical (non-essential) information
Parentheses always come in pairs (opening and closing).
- That particular weekend, we drove separately.
- (When did we go?)
- She retired from teaching Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes.
- (Explains the references to ABE later in the article)
- Every weekend (Saturday and Sunday), we went to the mountains.
- (Which days of the weekend did we go?)
- We went to the mountains every weekend (Saturday and Sunday).
- (Explains the length of the weekend)
- Probably the most famous cigar smoker was George Burns (1896–1996).
- (When was he born, and when did he die?)
- Do you recall previous presidents using POTUS (President of the United States)?
- (Explains the acronym “POTUS”)
Because the United States covers so much territory east and west, we have six time zones (not counting the dependencies). Most states (excluding Hawaii, Arizona, and the overseas territories) shift time between Standard Time and Daylight Time.
- Hawaii (HST)
- Alaska (AKST, AKDT)
- Pacific (PST, PDT)
- Mountain (MST, MDT)
- Central (CST, CDT)
- Eastern (EST, EDT)
Within a country, one normally only uses the area code, the prefix, and the individual number, the area code being left out within the region.
Within the US, different formats are acceptable:
- 555-111-2222 (preferred by AP and CMoS)
- (555) 111-2222 (accepted as common by CMoS)
- 555 555 2222
- According to translate.google.com, German uses the same word for both “thank you” and “please” (bitte).
- To travel to Italy, they learned how to say, “Thank you (graze), “Please” (per favore), and “You’re welcome” (prego).
The list may be horizontal (with each item following the previous in the same paragraph) or vertical (each item on its own line).
- Please follow the proper procedure for resetting your clock: (1) press the “time” button, (2) simultaneously press the “hour” button as often as necessary to change the hour, (3) release the “hour” button and continue to hold the “time,” (4) press the “min” button as necessary to change the minutes, (5) release all buttons.
To make ice cream, you need these ingredients:
and a strong arm for turning the churn!
Brackets may be used for clarification within the parentheses or quotation marks.
Translations within a quotation should be enclosed within brackets.
Brackets follow the same rules for ending punctuation and quotation marks as parentheses.
- Every weekend (Saturdays [unless Tommy was playing football] and Sundays), we went to the mountains.
- We had a wonderful time (except for the shark attack [actually, no big deal]) at the beach.
- “Humpy Dumpty [an egg] sat on a wall.”
- “Only two things are infinite [having no end], the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former” (Albert Einstein).
- Jacob often said, “Por favor [please]” when he meant, “Gracias [thank you].”
If the quotation is already in italics, remove the italics from the “sic.”
- The handwritten note was sent to all the classrooms, “Students, report too [sic] the auditorium.”
- Benjamin Franklin would have been dismayed if he had seen his saying quoted as “A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may even [sic] get over.”