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Use of Brackets

English Tip Brackets are used for a number of purposes:

Use #1: Sometimes, you may wish to clarify or add to an original quote. Put words that are being added to an original quote within brackets.

Original: She said, “I found their services invaluable.”
Amended: She said, “I found their [IT] services invaluable.”

Always put the changes in brackets, not parentheses. This tells your readers exactly how you have altered the original.

Use #2: Use brackets as parentheses within parentheses. You will see this with bibliographic references.

Example: (For more on the topic, see The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation [2008].)

Use #3: Use brackets to show the pronunciation of a word.

Example: He mispronounced mischievous [mis-chuh-vuhs].

Use #4: Use brackets surrounding sic and italicize it.

Example: She wrote, “They made there [sic] beds.” The Latin term sic is used to indicate that something written is intentionally left in the original form, which may be incorrect.

Due to the E-Newsletter's large readership, we are unable to respond to individual English usage questions.

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These seven words have an unusual characteristic in common. Can you guess what it is? (It's not just that they each have at least 2 different repeated letters.)

1. Banana
2. Dresser
3. Grammar
4. Potato
5. Revive
6. Uneven
7. Assess

Place the first letter at the end of the word, then spell the word backwards. It will be the same word. Can you think of others?

68 One-Minute English Usage Videos

English In A Snap: 68 One-Minute English Usage Videos FREE 

Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.

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