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Difference Between Brackets and Parentheses

Brackets vs Parentheses

In the written language, punctuation marks are important to determine the meaning of sentences. They are symbols that signify the meaning, intonation, and organization of the written words.

The ancient languages were devoid of punctuation marks. These were developed during the time when the Christian Bible was reproduced in large numbers. The popularity of printing in the 14th century has led to the introduction of the standard system of punctuation.

In later years, more and more punctuation marks were developed such as: the colon, semicolon, comma, and including brackets and parentheses. Brackets are punctuation marks which are tall and are used in matched pairs to set apart a text within a text.

The term “brackets” is used to refer to all types of brackets which include the square brackets [], the angle brackets or the chevrons <>, the curly brackets {}, and the parentheses (). It is more commonly used to refer to the square brackets, though, especially in the American usage.

It is used to enclose materials which are missing or which are used to explain what the original author stated and are added by someone other than him. An example is this sentence: “I appreciate it [the gift], but I am sorry that cannot accept it.” It is also used to alter or change quotations such as when referring to someone else’s statement. An example is this: “I love this game.” Which may also be quoted as: She “love[s] this game.”

It is also used in mathematics in notations for intervals, commutators, matrices, the floor function, and as the Iverson and Lie Brackets. It is also used to indicate the word in the original language of a translated work such as: “Susan knows how to prepare this delicious, Filipino meat dish [adobo].”

A parenthesis, on the other hand, is one of the several types of brackets. However, in American as well as in the usual usage it is considered a different kind of punctuation mark. It may be nested, using the same or other types of brackets in the inner sets. It is used to enclose materials that are used as explanations or commentaries and which could be excluded without changing the meaning of the sentence. It is also used when additional information is added to indicate either a plural or singular forms of a word such as: “the choice(s).”

Parentheses are used to enclose numbers, words, phrases, sentences, letters, symbols, and other items while brackets are used to enclose information that is inserted into a quote as well as parenthetical materials within the parentheses.


1.Brackets are tall punctuation marks that are used in pairs to separate texts within a sentence while parentheses are types of brackets.
2.In American usage, brackets refer to the box-type brackets while parentheses refer to a different type of punctuation mark.
3.Brackets are used to enclose parenthetical materials within the parentheses while parentheses are used to enclose words, numbers, phrases, sentences, symbols, and other items in a sentence.

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  1. Thanks so much for this useful explanation.

  2. Perhaps a few more examples

  3. Thanks, for such a comprehensive and discernable explanation.


  5. Thanks so much!☺️

  6. Thanks, this is very helpful~

  7. This was the most decernable [difference between] and comprehensive explanation of these two types (brackets & parentheses) of punctuation so often gone under or misused. Thank you!!!

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