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Punctuation—Where, When, Why, and How to Use It

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Parentheses
Parentheses are generally not used in fiction writing. There is no comma before the opening parenthesis. If parentheses are located within a sentence, even if they enclose a complete sentence, do not capitalize the first enclosed word (unless it is a proper noun) or end it with a period inside the closing parenthesis.

Usage
1. Numbers or letters in a series (in running text)
Example: The answers are (1) dog, (2) cat, and (3) horse.

2. An aside, parenthetical element, or a digression
Example: She wasn’t ready for the test (neither was I), but a last-minute study session would help.

3. Explanatory information
Example: The cookies (the chocolate chip ones) are gone.

4. To indicate doubt. (?)
The name of the diner is Grumby’s (?), or maybe Grimby’s.

5. To indicate surprise. (!)
Mary had changed so much (!) that I almost didn’t recognize her.

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7 comments

I felt like I was back in English class! These were great refreshers, some rules I wasn’t even familar with!

Thank you for the refresher course. I am a casual writer and probably break these rules frequently. It must drive you crazy!

I was always told never to put a comma before the word ‘and’ so it’s interesting to learn that’s not always the case!

I think I need to go back to English class!! I have to! lol. This helped me to remember this important things

This topic can’t be communicated enough! It is crazy how many mistakes are made… (I don’t exclude myself here :))

Thank you for sharing! It is so useful. I thought i was good at punctuation but realise i get confused with semi-colons and don’t know the other uses for others x

After leaving school,I have never really payed attention to the way i write and all the grammar rules. But ever since I have started writing again, I feel like I need to go to the library to get back all those grammar rules books. So thanks for this post, it helped me a lot.

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