Parentheses don’t belong in your copy—or do they?

Writing guides advise caution when deploying parentheses. Should you strike them from your copy altogether?

Recently, I tried to explain to my 9-year-old son about the use of parentheses. Here’s how the conversation went:

He: Mom, how do you know when you’re supposed to use parentheses? I: You use them around words that seem a bit out of place in the sentence. If you’re trying to explain something or make something more clear, or provide extra information, you put that in parentheses. He: Then the reader doesn’t really need to read what’s in parentheses? I: Not all the time. He: Then why put that information in there at all?

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