By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the uses of parentheses.
  • Properly use parentheses in sentences.

Parentheses ( ) are punctuation marks that are always used in pairs and contain material that is secondary to the meaning of a sentence. Parentheses must never contain the subject or verb of a sentence. A sentence should make sense if you delete any text within parentheses and the parentheses.

Attack of the Killer Potatoes has to be the worst movie I have seen (so far).

Your spinach and garlic salad is one of the most delicious (and nutritious) foods I have ever tasted!

Key Takeaways

  • Parentheses enclose information that is secondary to the meaning of a sentence.
  • Parentheses are always used in pairs.


1. On your own sheet of paper, clarify the following sentences by adding parentheses. If the sentence is clear as it is, write OK.

  • Are you going to the seminar this weekend I am?
  • I recommend that you try the sushi bar unless you don’t like sushi.
  • I was able to solve the puzzle after taking a few moments to think about it.
  • Please complete the questionnaire at the end of this letter.
  • Has anyone besides me read the assignment?
  • Please be sure to circle not underline the correct answers.