Does Period Go Inside Parentheses? We Explain The Rules

Does period go inside parentheses? When does it fall inside parentheses, and when does it fall outside parentheses? Learn more below.

The British English language is known for being confusing, and you might be wondering when the period should go inside the parentheses and when it should go outside the parentheses. There are numerous punctuation marks including quotation marks, a question mark, an exclamation point, and even a comma. It can be difficult to know if the period should come before or after the closing parenthesis.

As a general rule, the period should fall inside the parentheses if the entire sentence is inside the parentheses. In contrast, the period should fall outside the parentheses if only a part of the sentence is inside the parentheses. This will help you stick to APA or MLA style. 

When it comes to a parenthetical sentence, how can you get this right? Learn more below.

Best AI writing assistant
Grammarly
From $12 Per Month

We tested dozens of grammar checkers, and Grammarly is the best tool on the market today. It'll help you write and edit your work much faster. Grammarly provides a powerful AI writing assistant and plagiarism checker.


Become a Writer Today is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Part of a Sentence Falls Inside and Part of a Sentence Falls Outside

Does period go inside parentheses?

It might be helpful to take a look at a few examples to figure out how this rule might be applied. First, if a portion of the sentence falls inside the parentheses and a portion of the sentence falls outside the parentheses, the period should go outside the parentheses.

Here is an example:

The athletes competed in several events (biking, running, and swimming).

In this case, the period comes after the closing parentheses because a part of the sentence falls inside the parentheses and the rest of the sentence falls outside the parentheses. If the period were placed inside the parentheses, this would be incorrect. The period controls the action of the sentence, and it should come outside the parentheses. You might also be interested in our capitalization after semicolons explainer.

The Entire Sentence Is Inside

The entire sentence is inside
If the whole sentence is inside the parentheses, then the period has to come inside the parentheses as well

On the other hand, if the whole sentence is inside the parentheses, then the period has to come inside the parentheses as well. 

Here is a second example:

The athletes competed in biking, running, and swimming. (Several other events were offered to the athletes, but they were not chosen as official events by the students.) 

Notice that in the second sentence, the entirety of the sentence falls inside the parentheses. Therefore, the period has to be inside the parentheses as well, as this is where the main idea takes place. 

There are some situations where it might be tempting to use parentheses to cover part of one sentence and the entirety of the next sentence. This would combine the two approaches, and this is not allowed.

Here is an incorrect example:

The athletes competed in several events (biking, running, and swimming. Several other events were offered to the athletes, but they were not chosen as official events by the students.).

This would not be correct. Instead, there are a few ways to rewrite the statement above. Here is one example:

The athletes competed in several events (biking, running, and swimming). (Several other events were offered to the athletes, but they were not chosen as official events by the students.)

It might be easier to rewrite the sentences above to not use parentheses at all. It can be difficult to remember these rules, but with a bit of practice, you should be able to master them. 

Final Word On Does Period Go Inside Parentheses

There are a lot of confusing punctuation marks in the English language. A lot of people get confused by dashes, commas, the occasional semicolon, and even parentheses. You may have a difficult time remembering whether the punctuation mark is supposed to go inside the parentheses or outside the parentheses.

When in doubt, remember that the punctuation mark has to fall outside the parentheses if a portion of the sentence is outside the parentheses. In contrast, the punctuation mark has to go inside the parentheses if the entirety of the sentence is inside the parentheses.

You might want to use an automated grammar checker to help you figure out where the punctuation mark is supposed to go. Just like exclamation marks and the closing quotation mark, parentheses can be difficult to learn in formal writing.

Need help with fixing full stops and other issues in your sentences? A good grammar checker is ideal. It’ll help you find and fix errors fast.

To find out more, read our Grammarly review. If you liked this post, you might be interested in learning what are the capitalization days of the week rules.

FAQs About Does Period Go Inside Parentheses

Where do you put the punctuation mark if you are using parentheses?

If any portion of the sentence falls outside the parentheses, the end punctuation mark has to go outside as well. If the complete sentence is inside the parentheses, then the punctuation mark is supposed to go inside at the end of a sentence.

Are you supposed to include a space before or after the parentheses?

You should include a space before the opening parentheses and after the closing parentheses unless a punctuation mark is supposed to go there. There should not be a space between the parentheses and the word inside the parentheses at the end of the sentence.

Where do you put punctuation in quotes?

The placement of punctuation marks in quotes depends on the style guide you are following. There are primarily two main conventions:
1. American style: Punctuation marks (commas, periods, etc.) are placed inside the quotation marks, regardless of whether they are part of the quoted text or not.
Example: “The cat is on the mat,” said Mary.
2. British style: Punctuation marks are placed outside the quotation marks if they are not part of the quoted text, but inside if they are.
Example: “The cat is on the mat”, said Mary.

Where does the punctuation go with quotes at the end of a sentence?

The placement of punctuation marks with quotes at the end of a sentence depends on the context. In general, if the punctuation mark is specifically related to the quoted word or phrase, it should be placed within the quotation marks. However, if the punctuation mark applies to the entire sentence, it is placed outside of the quotation marks.

Do periods always go inside quotation marks?

No, periods do not always go inside quotation marks. The placement of periods (and other punctuation marks) in relation to quotation marks depends on the style guide you are following and the context of the sentence.

Does punctuation go inside or outside quotation marks in British English?

In British English, punctuation marks are generally placed outside the quotation marks unless they are part of the quoted material itself. For example, commas, periods, and question marks are typically placed outside the quotation marks. However, colons and semicolons are placed inside the quotation marks. It’s important to follow the specific style guide or conventions you are writing for to ensure consistency and clarity in your writing.

  • Bryan Collins is the owner of Become a Writer Today. He's an author from Ireland who helps writers build authority and earn a living from their creative work. He's also a former Forbes columnist and his work has appeared in publications like Lifehacker and Fast Company.

Tweet
Pin
Share
Share