Typesetting Tip #5: Brackets

There are 3 different types of brackets: parentheses, box brackets, and curly brackets. Here’s a brief overview of how each should be used.

  1. Parentheses ()
  2. Box brackets []
  3. Curly brackets or Braces {}

Basic Rules

Parentheses () are used to display optional or additional information in a sentence that could be removed without destroying the meaning of the main text.

Box brackets [] are used to enclose explanatory or missing material, especially in quoted text.

Curly brackets or braces are used to indicate a series of equal choices: “Select your favorite letter {a,b,c,z} and type it now”. They also have specialized usage in music notation and poetry. In computer programming, they typically represent the beginning and end of a sequence of statements.

posted by John Dilworth on Wednesday, Oct 25, 2006
tagged with typography