May 27, 2010

6 Tips for Using Parentheses, Brackets, or Dashes

Here are some punctuation marks that you could use to show your command of the English language, especially in the writing module of the IELTS.

Use parentheses to set off parenthetical expressions from the main part of the sentence.
Example: Some of my cars (the Focus, the Evolution, and the Subarus) were bought five years ago.

Use brackets to insert explanations or instructions that are not actually part of the sentence.
Example: One of my favorite songs ["Baggy Trousers"] was sung by Madness.

Use a dash to link two parts of a sentence.
Example: That's my favorite jacket-don't lose it.

Use a pair of dashes to emphasize by-the-way parenthetical expressions.
Example: He studied at Don Bosco - the one in Mandaluyong, not in Manila - between 1994 to 1998.

Use a dash to set off a long appostive (a description of who or what the subject is) or an appositive with lots of commas.
Example: Her classmates -  Maica, Andrea, and Elle - attended the party.

Use a dash to sum up a list or idea.
Example: "We find ways" - that's the slogan of BDO.

Here are some videos further discussing the use of parenthesis, brackets, and dashes.


Attribution to Rebecca Elliot and her book Painless Grammar (c) 2006, 1997 and to Paige Carrera and EHow

Other punctuation marks:
Question Marks
Exclamation Points
Parentheses, Brackets, or Dashes