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.

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.

The Entire Sentence Is Inside

Does period go inside parentheses?
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 

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.

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