In most cases, it’s pretty easy to figure out where to place a period in a sentence: it typically goes right at the end. Sometimes, though, we come across sentences that make things a bit tricky. One of these situations is when a sentence ends with words in parentheses:
- I like to work out in the morning (when there aren’t many people at the gym)
In cases like this, where the words in parentheses don’t form a full sentence, it may seem pretty obvious that the period belongs at the very end of the sentence. In other words, we would write the sentence like this:
- I like to work out in the morning (when there aren’t many people at the gym).
In other cases, though, the words in parentheses do form a full sentence just like in the example below:
- I like to work out in the morning (it’s easier to find a free machine when there aren’t many people at the gym)
Where do we place the period in a sentence like this?
It’s actually a bit of a tricky question because we don’t have just one period to worry about. Instead, we have two:
- I like to work out in the morning. (It’s easier to find a free machine when there aren’t many people at the gym.)
We place one period at the end of the “full sentence” outside of the parentheses and another period at the end of the “full sentence” inside the parentheses. Note that because the words in parentheses form a separate sentence, we capitalize the first word in the parentheses. In essence, then, the sentence inside parentheses is just like a regular sentence that’s placed entirely in parentheses.
Have any lingering questions about how to punctuate sentences that end with parentheses? Leave us a note in our comments section below and we’ll do our best to incorporate it into one of our upcoming posts.
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