How to End a Sentence With Parentheses

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Parentheses enable a writer to offset additional information from the rest of a sentence. You might place descriptions or explanatory clauses in parentheses. If the parenthetical clause comes at the end of a sentence, determine the correct punctuation carefully. When you end a sentence with a parenthesis, analyze the clause inside the parentheses so you know where to place the ending punctuation.

  • Place the clause inside the parentheses at the end of a sentence.

  • Determine whether the passage inside the parentheses is a complete sentence or a fragment. A complete sentence contains a subject, a predicate (a verb) and it expresses a complete thought. For example, "The boy jumped over the ball" is a complete sentence because "the boy" is the subject and "jumped over the ball" is the predicate and it expresses a complete thought. The passage, "after I curl my hair" is not a complete sentence because although it contains a subject and a verb, it does not express a complete thought.

  • Place ending punctuation (period, question mark or exclamation point) inside the end parenthesis only if the passage inside the parentheses is a complete thought. For example, this sentence requires punctuation inside the end parenthesis because the passage inside parentheses is a complete sentence, "I was late for work. (I made up the time by staying late.)"

  • Add ending punctuation outside the end parenthesis if the passage inside the parentheses is a fragment. For example, this sentence does not require ending punctuation inside the parenthesis because the passage is a fragment: "We are going to the zoo today (by bus)."

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