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Punctuation. Brackets

Interuniversity Style Guide

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the third edition of the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participates with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.

    Round brakets: secondary or marginal information

    • Use round brackets to indicate information that is secondary or marginal to the main idea of the sentence.

      The documentary was produced by Spotlight Films (a production company connected to the University's film school).

    Round brakets: explanations or abbreviations of preceding information

    • Use round brackets to expand on or explain preceding information.

      EU-OSH (the European workplace safety and health agency) works to ensure that these regulations are respected.
      The project was funded by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    • When a passage within round brackets is at the end of a sentence, of which it is only a part, place the full stop after the closing bracket.

      The number of students entering arts degrees is declining (according to recent reports).

    • However, when the bracketed passage is a complete sentence, place the full stop before the opening bracket and then add a second full stop before the closing bracket.

      The number of students entering arts degrees is declining. (According to recent reports, it has dropped by over 25% in the last nine years.)

    Round brakets: options

    • Use round brackets to represent options.

      Please write your surname(s) in block capitals.
      The opinions of the author(s) are not shared by the publisher(s).

    Round brakets: enumerations in a body of text

    • Use round brackets to enclose numerals or letters in an enumeration in the body of a text.
    • Use roman type rather than italics for the numerals and letters.

      A project proposal should include (1) a description of the project, (2) an identification of the target audience, (3) an explanation of why the project deserves funding and (4) a comparison with similar projects implemented in recent years.
      The preview of your class paper should include (a) an abstract, (b) a sample of each chapter, (c) a selected bibliography and (d) details on funding.

    Square brackets: clarifications within quoted text

    • Use square brackets to set off a clarification within quoted text.

      The rector said of the coming budget debate: "Never in all my years as rector have I had to make such a difficult decision about such a useful programme [grants for young researchers] affecting so many".

    Square brackets: optional or tentative text

    • Use square brackets to indicate text that is optional or still open to discussion.

      The implementation of the project will be the [joint] responsibility of the School of Education [and the Office of External Relations].

    Square brackets: brackets within brackets

    • Use square brackets to indicate parenthetical elements that are already in round brackets.

      A large multilateral organisation (e.g., the World Bank [WB]) has the following characteristics…