Website Writing Guide

Web writing and presentation style

Brackets

Brackets are often used within a sentence or at the end of a sentence to provide supplementary information. The content inside the bracket is an aside to the main content. They are also used to provide clarification of a term when it first appears on a page - see Acronyms.

  • Avoid using brackets to present supplementary information and for clarification. If a sentence or term requires clarification, this probably means the information is not expressed clearly enough and should be re-worded.
  • If the supplementary information provided in brackets is considered too important to omit, it is therefore not supplementary but essential and should be presented without the brackets.
  • Plain English and accessible writing requires simple sentence structure. The presence of brackets, and the additional words and ideas they contain, are counter to this goal.
  • Brackets are an aside, they break up the flow of the words and ideas and the user’s concentration.
How to avoid using brackets

If you feel the need to present something in brackets when writing or editing content, there are some ways to avoid the temptation.

1. Re-write the sentence

  • The research treated the manufacturing and mining industries as part of the Industry sector.
  • The research treated the manufacturing industry (and mining industry) as part of the Industry sector.

 

2. Provide the content in another sentence, or simply remove the brackets

  • The research treated the manufacturing and mining industries as part of the Industry sector. Petroleum industries were included in the Energy section.
  • The research treated the manufacturing and mining industries as part of the Industry sector. (Petroleum industries were included in the Energy section.)

 

3. Use commas to set the content apart

  • Brackets, or parentheses, are used within a sentence.
  • Brackets (or parentheses) are used within a sentence.

 

4. Use a dash at the end of the sentence to set the content apart

  • They are also used to provide clarification of a term when it first appears on a page - see Acronyms.
  • They are also used to provide clarification of a term when it first appears on a page (see Acronyms).


Other topics in this section

Guide Home | Write directly and succinctly | Paragraph and sentence styles | Heading hierarchy |
Web page navigation
| Scrolling and page length | Making content accessible |
Presenting instructions | Writing for Google | Capitals in headings | Hyperlinking styles |
Acronyms
| Brackets | PDFs |

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