The Bracket

Brackets are used in pairs, like the parentheses. In Job composition

either brackets or parentheses may be used, as suits the fancy or is

convenient. In descriptive text matter, however, brackets should not be

used where parentheses are clearly indicated.

_Rules for the Use of the Bracket_

1. To enclose words or phrases which are entirely independent of the

rest of the sentence.

The enclosed words are usually comments, queries, corrections,

criticisms, or directions inserted by some person other than the

original writer or speaker.

2. To enclose passages of doubtful authenticity in reprints of early

manuscripts, special amendments to bills under legislative

consideration, or any other portions of a text which need peculiar


3. In legal or ecclesiastical papers to indicate numerical words which

may have to be changed, or to indicate where details are to be supplied.

This is the first [_second or third_] publication.

The officers shall remain in office [_here state the time_] or until

their successors are duly qualified.

4. To avoid the confusion caused by a parenthesis within a parenthesis.

5. A single bracket is used to enclose the ending of a long line of

poetry which will not fit the register and has to be run over into an

adjoining line.

Doubt whether to use parentheses or brackets can usually be settled by

this general principle:

Parentheses always enclose remarks apparently made by the writer of the

text. Brackets enclose remarks certainly made by the editor or reporter

of that text.

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