Round brackets are primarily used in four situations.

  • Secondary or marginal informationUse round brackets to indicate information that is secondary or marginal to the main idea of the sentence.
    Small_OK The documentary was produced by Spotlight Films (a production company connected to the University’s film school).
  • Explanations or abbreviations of preceding informationUse round brackets to expand on or explain preceding information.
    Small_OK EU-OSH (the European workplace safety and health agency) works to ensure that these regulations are respected.
    Small_OK 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. 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.

    Small_OK The number of students entering arts degrees is declining (according to recent reports).
    Small_OK The number of students entering arts degrees is declining. (According to recent reports, it has dropped by over 25% in the last nine years.)
  • OptionsUse round brackets to represent options.
    Small_OK Please write your surname(s) in block capitals.
    Small_OK The opinions of the author(s) are not shared by the publisher(s).
  • Enumerations in a body of textUse 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.
    Small_OK 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.
    Small_OK 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.

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