Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How to put brackets around words

Now this, you would think, would not be a difficult subject. The day they explained brackets at school, surely, was a day you could pretty much coast. What you do (they might have patiently explained) is this:

(put some words inside the brackets)

A simple enough rule, then. Almost as simple as how to spell "its". But can we all get it right? No. Can we cock it up? Oh yes.

( some words and some intriguing additional space inside the brackets )

Now what the hell's with that?

One practical problem is that if you leave redundant and unexpected spaces after the opening or before the closing bracket, HTML will feel free to break the line on the space, unless you use the non-breaking space character  . Microsoft Word will do the same, unless you use the equivalent Ctrl-Shift-space sequence. But do redundant bracket spacers bother with these niceties? They do not. Do their documents look a bit crap? I think we know the answer.

4 comments:

bestonline323 said...

Journalists use brackets within quotations to put words in people's mouths. This isn't necessarily a bad thing! Sometimes journalists have to insert words to help to clarify a statement.

Brackets are often used to identify ambiguous pronouns in a direct quotation. For example: "They [the 8th Federal Infantry] fought bravely under the most adverse circumstances during the Civil War."

You can also use brackets to properly place a quote within the syntax of a sentence. To decapitalize a word, for example, "Doctor Fielding's written opinion states that '[p]atients are often deceitful.'"

Square brackets are also used in conjunction with the "[sic]" punctuation, which is a way of distancing yourself from a misstatement or a misspelling. For example, "The Delaware River is indeed a truly majestic site [sic]."

Finally, to quote usage guru Bryan Garner (and conveniently use square brackets in the process), "[Square brackets] enclose comments, corrections, explanations, interpolations, notes, or translations that were not in the original text but have been added by subsequent authors, editors, or others."

Cheers,
Brody
Lcd tv bracket

Phantom Nitpicker said...

Nobody's saying there is anything wrong with brackets, Brody, and by the way it's "LCD TV".

Kristin said...

Dear bestonline323:

You should quote your sources if you're going to blantaly plagarize,

http://ask.yahoo.com/20051121.html

April said...

HAhahaha kristin that's funny