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TalencentrumOnderdeel van Rijksuniversiteit Groningen


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TalencentrumVertalen en corrigerenStyle GuidePunctuationParenthesis


brackets, haakjes, parenthèse, Klammer

In Dutch, it is common to use parentheses to offer alternative meanings, known as embedded brackets. This is not nearly as common in English and can easily be misunderstood. Add to this the tendency of embedded brackets in English being used to make a point with wordplay, and the potential for confusion is infinite. So, avoid brackets wherever possible!

Example: (brom)fietsen verboden – bicycles and motorcycles are forbidden (not bi/motorcycles, or motor/bicycles)

1.  In English, brackets (or parentheses) are also used to indicate a sort of aside from the author to the reader – information that is not essential to the sentence but can aid understanding. The part between brackets could also be separated from the main sentence by commas or dashes. Unlike commas or dashes, however, parentheses always come in pairs!

2.  Brackets are also used to represent options in the following kinds of situation: The referees will not know the name(s) of the author(s).

3.  Brackets in a Dutch text can usually be replaced by ‘or’ and sometimes by ‘and’, depending on the context. In the event of serious doubt as to which to use, contact the UVC.

Last modified:15 September 2017 9.00 p.m.