Brackets can take many different forms. They tend to surround words or phrases in the middle of sentences, or enclose a whole sentence on its own.

They can be used instead of quotation marks or hyphens to show where information came from.

How to use brackets

“Rocky (the dog) likes to watch television (mainly crime programs) and eat Alphabet soup.”

This sentence comes from – (Astro’s Adventures, The Astro’s Adventures Files, Susan Day Publishing, 2017)

They are also used in scripts to teach the actor of how to deliver a particular passage:

“It is worth noting, my canine friends, [pause, and look each other in the eye] that we face a very real threat to our comfortable lives [pause, and shake head].”

Here is an example of how multiple brackets and parentheses might be used:

Astro rejected the offer to blab on his colleagues. (While it was tempting [50 cans of dog food and a gold plated can opener], he just couldn’t accept it.)

Help your grandchild learn to use brackets properly
Help your grandchild learn to use brackets properly

They can also take several different forms

There are –

square brackets  [ ]

parentheses ( )

round brackets ( )

brace or curly brackets { }

angle brackets: < >

Brackets play an important role in Mathematics too. They indicate the order processes need to be taken in. However, in written English, they have more flexible adaptations.

Many writers today avoid using brackets, especially in children’s literature as they can confuse the reader. And, all though they seem to be used less and less, it well worth learning how and when to use them.

So, if you come across brackets when reading with your grandchildren you can point out what they are and what they are used for.

Help your grandchild learn to use brackets properly
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