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Brackets go to the wall

Posted by Lewis on June 02, 2003

In Reply to: Brackets, parentheses posted by R. Berg on May 26, 2003

: : : : Here I often see references to a "bracketed phrase" appear in parentheses on my screen. Is that my font settings or your software or do many people use the terms brackets and parentheses differently?

: : : : Perhaps a test is indicated: brackets [], parentheses ().

: : : A parenthetical element in a sentence is enclosed by parentheses. They may be commas, dashes or some variety of bracket. In mathematics, square brackets have been named parentheses to distinguish them from curved brackets.

: : Now I've looked it up! This is from
: : "Here are some examples of brackets: ( ) - parentheses, [ ] - brackets or square brackets, { } - braces or curly brackets, - angular brackets. Normally, the word "brackets" means square brackets and not parentheses."

: : Living in England, I would understand "brackets" to be round ones.

: In the U.S., ( ) are conventionally called parentheses. Brackets are [ ]. { } are braces or curly braces.

I thought "parentheses" meant that the idea was subsidiary, however it was presented. I think "brackets" and "parentheses" are entirely interchangeable except in printing and mathematics. I just call them brackets/square brackets/squiggle brackets.

Brackets can also be L-shaped.