Parentheses and Quotation Marks

Hello, Write Owls. Welcome to Day 14 of Grammar 110. Today we’re talking about parentheses and quotation marks.

Parentheses are really straightforward. Similar to commas and em dashes, you use them to set off information. The information contained within the parentheses can be removed from the sentence without changing its meaning. If you need parentheses inside parentheses, the innermost set should be brackets.


Today’s lesson is on character development. (For my lesson on character basics, see Appendix A.)

Daisies (which are my favorite flower) are sprouting in my garden. (You could use commas instead of parentheses.)

Tim Miller (1853-1921) was a famous person.

I once met Tim Miller. (Ted Miller [1853-1921] was a famous person.)

Quotation marks are also straightforward. They are used to enclose direct quotes and the titles of short works. Only use single quotes for quotes within quotes.


Sara said, “I like writing stories with morally gray characters.”

“My favorite part,” Sara said, “is writing their character profiles.”

The poem “Sea Breeze” is one of my favorites.

“The poem ‘Sea Breeze’ is one of my favorites,” I said.

That’s all I have for parentheses and quotation marks. I’ll be covering more specific rules for direct quotes and dialogue in a future lesson. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, and I’ll either answer them as a reply or in my Q&A on Saturday.

For practice, determine where the parentheses and/or quotations go in these sentences. If you want me to check your answers, leave them in the comments.

1. Where are you going? Jane asked.

2. The short story Ocean of Despair is sad.

3. Well he said I suppose I can go as long as you’re driving.

4. Their friend who graduated two years before they did was attending the local university.

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