15 ways to use parentheses

These paired punctuation marks are exceedingly useful in certain, specific cases (some of which you may not have known about).

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Parentheses can be versatile for writers. These examples illustrate their uses; use them to enclose the following:

Examples, directions, explanations, and clarifications:

1. “Retain ampersands when they appear as part of an official name (Barnes & Noble, Ben & Jerry’s).”

2. “At that point, you may want to consult with a professional. (Refer to the Resources chapter for a list of tax advisers.)”

3. “Here is a selective glossary of editing and production terms. (Synonyms are in italics; cross-referenced terms are in bold italics.)”

4. “Precede the dollar amount with the initials US only to avoid confusion (in, say, an article about Australia, where the basic unit of currency is also called the dollar).”

Numerals that confirm a spelled-out number in a contract:

5. “The confirmation letter is due within thirty (30) days.”

Abbreviations (usually) after the first reference to the full version of the term:

6. “The country’s import and export levels are regulated by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).”

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