Bracket Oh Bracket! (I heart you.)

Semi-colons are for show-offs (or is it just me that feels smug when I use one?), ampersands are for the idle (exaggeration?), but brackets (you guessed it) are brilliant.

I’m a somewhat excessive user of the bracket; maybe because I’m too rational, maybe because I have a minuscule attention span. (This last sentence should make a great deal more sense later if all goes according to plan.)

Sometimes I put whole sentences in brackets (as above), sometimes I place just one word in brackets (chipmunk) and sometimes I use brackets inside of brackets (this is just an example (don’t read this to your audience if you are reading it out loud (but if you’re reading it in your head, go back to the beginning and say it out loud instead))). I once used eleven sets of brackets within each other, had to lie down for ten minutes, then spent the next four days coming to terms with what I’d done (I never said there were no drawbacks to the bracket).

So, back to my theories on my passion for parentheses (brackets). They allow me conditions. And conditions are very important to me. I find it hard to answer a question without an ‘it depends’, which is terribly frustrating to me and those around me (especially those looking for a straight answer), but is essentially a result of my annoyingly unfailing rationality; I always seem to see the other side (a misfortune my relationships have occasionally suffered). So when writing (it’s difficult to use brackets when speaking (I have tried (but it’s tricky on the telephone (unless of course you say ‘in brackets’ (which I’m sure you can in French, but in English makes you sound a bit weird (but writing a whole post about it, that’s normal (I’m aware this is becoming annoying now (sorry)))))))) the bracket accommodates my fair yet all-encompassing outlook (wishy-washyness).

Otherly (is that a real word?), they are safe, sleek punctuation pockets that allow me to wander into wild tangents, providing an outlet for my focus-averse brain and its wily machinations (I don’t think I know what either of those last two words mean (it’s the first time I’ve used either of them), but they sound rather good and (seem to) convey the idea I wanted to when I started this sentence but which I have now forgotten).

Now I don’t claim to be an expert, just a very big fan. But there is one person (you know who you are) whose bracket brilliance I remain in awe of; his talent so flagrant and flamboyant that it makes me blush. A bracket maverick if ever I saw one, his identity must remain a mystery but his legacy I hope to preserve.

Brackets: j'aime
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8 responses to “Bracket Oh Bracket! (I heart you.)

  • Stupid. Full Stop. « J'aime / J'aime pas

    [...] hearts that when § is on a par with Grandmaster Dot, something is very, very wrong. The colon, the bracket, even the dollar sign, have priority places on my keyboard. And there, suspended nervously above [...]

  • David Gilchrist

    What do you think about the annoying French habit of leaving spaces inside brackets ( like this ) or, even worse, leaving a space next to just one of the brackets ( like this)? I have adopted the French style of leaving spaces before semi-colons and colons : it makes the text more readable ; the same goes for exclamation marks ! But brackets don’t need spaces ( spaces would play havoc with your nested brackets ( which you like so much ( too much perhaps ) ) ).

    • Denise

      Hmmm, I have never seen spaces used with brackets, though I do still smart a bit when I see one before an exclamation or question mark (or a colon (semi, or otherwise)). I think I need to be more tolerant.

  • Alice

    I wish there would be a reason to use single brackets (

  • Ross-Bif

    “Punctuation Pocket” – my favourite part of this blog. I would love to physically be able to pop a thought into a punctuation pocket and keep it safe.

  • likedontlike

    Thank you! This is my first comment and I am ludicrously excited (excellent bracket-nesting btw).

  • Alice

    You seem to have a gift to hit the nail on things that could easily stay unnoticed, but now (and thanks to you) I realize how much I love brackets too (and how much I hate sticky shower curtains (eventhough I don’t have one))!

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