Parentheses (Look Inside This Lesson!)

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13574

Have you ever seen two punctuation marks used in writing that look like this: ( ) ? What are they? What do they mean? What is the point in using them? They have lots of uses! Find out here!


Grammar, Reading

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Beaver, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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A parentheses once said the following.

parenthesis joke

  • What does that mean?
  • What does it mean when a person says it?
  • Why would a parentheses say that?

In this lesson, you will learn how to use parentheses in your writing, which will make your writing clearer and easier for others to understand.

  • What did you think about a parentheses saying it's what's on the inside that counts?

Parentheses have words inside of them, which are placed inside the parentheses for a reason. The words that are inside the parentheses are just as important!

  • So, what exactly are parentheses used for?

Take a look at some of their uses and examples below.

Use Example Other Facts
  1. to clarify, or explain better, by giving more information
  • She finally fell asleep (after trying for so long) in her bed.
  • You can also use dashes or commas for this.
  1. giving an example
  • His dogs were named after characters (Simba and Moana).
  1. time zones
  • The meeting is at 10:00 P.M. (CST)
  • Your time zone is what time is for you based on your location.
  1. area codes in phone numbers
  • (555) 543-2121
  1. abbreviations and acronyms
  • Please reply ASAP (as soon as possible).
  1. the years someone was alive
  • My grandpa lived long (1945-2021).
  1. numbers or letters used in lists
  • (1) clean bedroom
    (2) do homework
    (3) take out garbage
  • You don't HAVE to use them in this case.


Here are some parentheses fun facts you should know.

Parentheses come in a pair.

When you see one at the beginning of a group of words, there is always one at the end to close off that group. You can't have one without the other!

The words inside the parentheses should be able to be deleted, and the rest of the sentence will still make sense.

Example: The boy (and his friend) went to the store.

"The boy went to the store" makes sense as a sentence by itself.

Non-Example: The boy (and his friend) were having a birthday party.

"The boy was having a birthday party" does not make sense as a sentence by itself.

When the words inside the parentheses are a complete sentence, you put the period inside.

Example: (I didn't know how to do that.)

When the words inside the parentheses are not a complete sentence, you put the period outside at the end of that sentence.

Example: I didn't know how to do that (but I tried anyway).

Listen to this fun song, to sum up all the information you just read!

The song also talks about brackets so that you can learn a bit extra. Be sure to focus on the parentheses information, though!

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  • Get it?

Great! Go to the Got It? section for practice!

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