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!


A parentheses once said:

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 parentheses saying it's what on the inside that counts?

Parentheses have words inside of them, and those words are placed inside of 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 along with 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 it is for you based on where you are located.
  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 a long life (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 also always one at the end to close off that group of words. 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 were 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 on the 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 you can learn a bit extra. Be sure to focus on the parentheses information though!

Parentheses and Brackets song from Grammaropolis - "(Parentheses) & [Brackets]" from Grammaropolis:

  • Get it?

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

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