Use brackets and dashes for parenthesis
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  • Introduction
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A parenthesis is a word or a phrase that is inserted into a sentence to add information or explain something.

 

We generally put extra information inside commas.

 My sister, who is called Emily, loves horses.

 

However, if we want the extra information to stand out more, then dashes or brackets can be used.

My sister - who is called Emily - loves horses.

My sister (who is called Emily) loves horses.

 

Sometimes people use the word parenthesis to refer to the brackets themselves, but strictly speaking the parenthesis is the information, not the punctuation.

 

The sentence should always make sense without the parenthesis, whether commas, dashes or brackets are used. Dashes are generally more informal, and are often used in emails or other casual writing.

 

The plural of parenthesis is parentheses.

  • Question 1
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Use commas to punctuate the extra information in this sentence.

 

My dad who is normally a very good driver crashed his car yesterday.

  • Question 2
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Use brackets to punctuate the extra information in this sentence.

 

My Aunt Jemima who is nearly one hundred years old is coming to visit us soon.

  • Question 3
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Use dashes to punctuate the extra information in this sentence.

 

Katie more tired than she had ever been in her life struggled to stay awake.

  • Question 4
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Use commas to punctuate the extra information in this sentence.

 

Jonny and Matty his oldest children are coming home from university tomorrow.

  • Question 5
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Use dashes to punctuate the extra information in this sentence.

 

Jodie is I believe the best mathematician in the class.

  • Question 6
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Use commas to insert the parenthesis 'despite being very nervous' into the sentence below. 

 

Jake played the game of his life

  • Question 7
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Use dashes to insert the parenthesis 'although I don't believe him' into the sentence below.

 

Peter claims to be able to read people's minds.

  • Question 8
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Use brackets to insert the parenthesis 'claimed to be the largest city in the world' into the sentence below.

 

Beijing is the capital of China.

  • Question 9
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Tick the type of punctuation that would be better if you wanted to emphasise the extra information in a sentence.

commas

brackets

  • Question 10
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Tick the type of punctuation that would be better if you were writing a formal letter and you wanted to add information to a sentence.

brackets

dashes

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