What the heck happens when a parenthesis (or is it parenthesi? Nope. Singular = parenthesis, plural = parentheses) occurs at the end of sentence? Does the punctuation go inside or outside? Maybe you’re already clear on this, but it’s always made me wonder.
Well, according to Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl to you and me), it depends. She says:
When a parenthetical statement falls at the end of a sentence, the placement of the terminal punctuation depends on whether the words inside the parentheses are a complete sentence.
If the words inside the parentheses aren’t a complete sentence, the period, question mark, or exclamation point that ends the sentence goes after the parenthesis:
- Squiggly likes chocolate (and nuts).
- Could Aardvark bring home candy (quickly)?
If the words inside the parentheses are a complete sentence, the period, question mark, or exclamation point that ends the sentence goes inside the parenthesis:
- Bring chocolate. (Squiggly likes sweets.)
- Buy candy. (Bring it quickly!)
There you have it! And it’s actually not as complicated as I expected. 😉
Source: Fogarty, Mignon. “Periods and Parentheses.” Web blog post. Quick and Dirty Tips. Grammar Girl, 21 February 2011. Web. 08 April 2016.
Image: Helvetica Paintings: ( ) Parentheses, Shane Becker at Flickr. CC BY 2.0.