Does Punctuation Go Inside Parentheses?

Does punctuation go inside parentheses? Using parentheses and periods is very common and integral to forming basic English sentences. Generally, periods act to fully end a sentence with a punctual stop, whereas parentheses allows you to add tangents and notes into existing sentences. 

If you have parentheses that ends in the same place as your sentence, it can be confusing if you should include the period within or outside of them. Aside from it is nice to know grammar rules; understanding how you should format periods with parentheses can allow you to create strong and meaningful pieces of writing!  

Where Does The Period Go? 

Your periods should generally go outside your parentheses, especially if the parenthetical statement is an incomplete sentence/clause. In contrast, if your parenthetical statement is a full sentence that can stand alone, the period should go inside. 

Formatting The Period Inside Parentheses 

To begin, let’s take a look at some examples where it would be correct for you to format the period inside parentheses: 

  • Don’t worry about feeding the dog. (I already fed him earlier.) 

In this example, the parenthetical sentence is complete, so it would be correct to place the period inside. 

  • Come to the party around 8 P.M. (Don’t forget to bring some snacks!) 

In this example, again, the parenthetical sentence is full. As you can see, it builds upon the original sentence while still being a separate idea. One thing to note is that other forms of punctuation (such as exclamation marks) follow the same rules as periods. 

  • I think I am mad today because I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten much. (I’ve only eaten a few crackers).

Once again, the parenthetical sentence is full and connects to the original sentences while still being a separate thought. 

Formatting The Period Outside Parentheses

Now that we have seen how punctuation should be inside the parentheses let’s look at some cases where they should go outside parentheses.

  • I’ve eaten a lot today (pickles, a hamburger, some chicken), so I will probably skip dinner tonight. 

In this example, the parenthetical statement is a simple list that can’t stand alone as a sentence. In addition, it is found within the middle of a full sentence (or two independent clauses), so the period should follow the entire statement. 

  • Unfortunately, I don’t think I can supply silverware (I don’t have any), but I can try to bring something else. 

In this example, the parenthetical statement is a small dependent clause that can’t stand on its own. Also, it acts as an extra note to the main sentence, so the period should go at the end! 

  • Please show up to the convention on time (around 3). 

In this example, the parenthetical statement is a simple time. Again, it acts as a note to specify what is being said in the full statement. Even though it is at the end of the whole sentence, the period should go outside the parentheses. 

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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