A parenthesis is additional information added into a sentence as an explanation or an afterthought. A parenthesis can be shown using two brackets, two commas, or two dashes. The choice is yours. Here are some guidelines:
- Using Dashes. Your parenthesis will be easily seen, but dashes can look a little stark.
- Using Commas. Commas make for a normal-looking sentence, but commas can be confused with other commas in the sentence.
- Using Brackets: Your parenthesis will be easily seen, but brackets can make official letters look a little unorganized.
For Parenthesis, Use Commas, Dashes or BracketsA parenthesis is additional information added into a sentence as an explanation or an afterthought. For example (parenthesis shaded):
(Note: The word parentheses is often used to mean brackets. Therefore, to avoid confusion, you will often see brackets (i.e., parentheses), commas, dashes grouped under the term parenthetical punctuation as opposed to parentheses.)
It is your choice which style of parentheses you use. It is normal to use commas, but they can be easily confused with other commas in the sentence. Brackets will make your parenthesis easily identifiable, but brackets can look a little informal. To make your parenthesis really stand out, you can use dashes, but they can look a little stark.
Try reading each example with the parenthesis removed. It will still make sense.
dashes used for parenthesis
However, As a ResultInserted comments such as however, therefore, as a result, as far as I am concerned, for all intents and purposes, subsequently, so to speak, etc. fall into the category of parenthesis too. (As a rule, brackets are not used with these.)
A parenthesis adds more information to a sentence:
WHAT SHOULD I USE FOR PARENTHESES?
It is your choice whether to use commas, brackets , or dashes for parentheses. Below are some guidelines:
DON'T FORGET TO END THE PARENTHESIS
Always remember to end a parenthesis. When using commas or dashes, writers often forget to end the parenthesis. This is as wrong as not closing a pair of brackets.
PARENTHESIS IN APPOSITION
The term in apposition just means the same. When a parenthesis is the same thing as whatever it follows, it is called parenthesis in apposition.
Commas before conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or)
Using commas for parenthesis
What is parenthesis in apposition?
A useful list of lessons on punctuation