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Parentheses before or after period?
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Member
Posts: 106
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(Reposted from old newsgroup on 2/13/03)

I always have to stop to think whether the period goes before or after the "close parentheses," as in:

...he then formed the Hot Cross Buns (an award-winning group that went on to win fourteen awards).

... he then formed the Hot Cross Buns (an award-winning group that went on to win fourteen awards.)

How do you do this?

Rachel rsk1@earthlink.net

[This message was edited by Admin on February 13, 2003 at 08:15 AM.]
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(Reposted from old newsgroup on 2/13/03)

This topic has never given me any trouble. I simply decide what the parenthetic material supplies, and punctuate accordingly.
In the example given about Hot Cross Buns, the parenthetic material gives information only about Hot Cross Buns. The sentence is complete without the parenthetic material, so the period follows the closing parenthesis:

He then formed the Hot Cross Buns (an award-winning group that went on to win fourteen awards).

This is the same as if the parenthetical material were not included - it is extra information.

Another way to do it is to decide whether the material inside the parentheses is structurally complete - that is, is it a complete sentence on its own? As the Hot Cross Buns sentence is written above, it is not a complete sentence, so the period belongs after the closing parenthesis.
If, however, you change the wording to "This award-winning group went on to win fourteen awards," the sentence would be complete. You would then have two complete sentences, in which case the period belongs inside the closing parenthesis:

He then formed the Hot Cross Buns. (This award-winning group went on to win fourteen awards.)

JJ

[This message was edited by Admin on February 13, 2003 at 08:14 AM.]
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Location: Long Beach, CA
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quote:
parenthesis

So if you are being clear here, you are saying that it is correct to use an incomplete sentence when you place it in parenthesis?
David, Co-moderator
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Location: Santa Cruz, California
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quote:
. . . you are [JJ was, 10 years ago] saying that it is correct to use an incomplete sentence when you place it in parenthesis?
Not exactly, lamestars. Let's look at the examples:
    1) He then formed the Hot Cross Buns (an award-winning group that went on to win fourteen awards).

    2) He then formed the Hot Cross Buns. (This award-winning group went on to win fourteen awards.)
The parenthetical in example (1) is not a complete sentence, but it is part of a complete sentence: the noun phrase "an award-winning group that went on to win fourteen awards" is a nonrestrictive appositive with respect to the noun phrase "the Hot Cross Buns."

The parenthetical in (1) could have been set off with a comma rather than parentheses. Because the parenthetical is part of a complete sentence, the close parenthesis of the parenthetical precedes the period.

The parenthetical of example (2) is a complete sentence. Thus, the entire sentence-parenthetical, including the period of the sentence-parenthetical, is included within the parentheses.
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