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Grammar Repair Shop: Period inside or outside parenthesis

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Reader Sharon Wentzell sent us this question: "When you use parentheses at the end of a sentence, where does the period go: inside or outside the last parenthesis?"


Answer:


When you have a full sentence inside parentheses, and it isn't positioned inside another sentence, it should begin with a capital letter and end with a period placed inside the parenthesis.


Example: "Sales for last quarter dipped lower than usual, but we expect to see those numbers rise this quarter. (See the attached report.)"


Inside a sentence, text within parentheses does not need initial capitalization, and the punctuation would fall outside the parenthesis.


Example: "Sales for the last quarter dipped lower than usual (see the attached report), but we expect to see those numbers rise this quarter."


Exception: The phrase in parentheses may end with a question mark or an exclamation point.


Example:"Sales for the last quarter dipped lower than usual (Did everyone see the report?), but we expect to see those numbers rise this quarter."
Peeved by a common error? Puzzled by perplexing grammar rules? E-mail us at admineditor@nibm.net with the subject "Grammar."

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