Parenthesis Rhetorical Definition and Examples

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Parentheses is usually a grammatical term by which I mean brackets. But parentheses also refer to a rhetorical technique that does something similar. It’s where you break the flow of everyday speech to add in something extra. Now clearly, unlike the grammar, you can’t see these parentheses. But you can hear them on the audio clip of that last line. You can even see where it sounds where this gap is. Now the sentence would have worked perfectly fine without their addition. But by adding it in and breaking the flow draws attention to that detail. Now there are way too many things to cover that you could use parentheses for.

Types of parenthesis according to brackets

Brackets come in pairs, and I used to add extra information to a sentence. This additional information can be a word, a phrase, or even an entire sentence.

There are two types of brackets.

  1. ( )
  2. [ ]

1.   (  ):

The first type is parentheses. Parentheses are generally used to add extra information in the sentence.

For example

  1. Phillip studied (all day) for the grammar test
  2. I went to the museum with Becky (my best friend).

The sentence should still make sense if the bracket element is removed. For example, if we remove all day. Phillip studied for the grammar test the sentence still makes sense.

In the second example, if we remove the bracket element. We’re left with, I went to the museum with Becky. So, the sentence still makes sense.

2.   [  ]:

The second type of bracket is square brackets square. Brackets show that words have been added to a direct quotation. It may be necessary to use square brackets to provide extra information for a quote to make sense.

For example

  1. We went and had a brilliant time.

This quote isn’t apparent as there isn’t much context. However, we can provide extra information using the square brackets. For example

  1. We went [to the theme park] and had a brilliant time.

By using punctuation

If punctuation is required within the brackets, then this should be included before the closing brackets. If punctuation is required in the surrounding sentence, then place these outside the bracket.

For example

  1. After lunch (a tuna sandwich), Ali ate an Apple.

The comma belongs to the surrounding sentence; therefore, we place the com to show this after closing the brackets.

Uses of Parenthesis

First of all, they look like (  ). Its job is to surround extra information in a sentence that could remove without impacting the meaning of important information in that sentence. There are the following uses of parenthesis.

  1. For multiple-letter abbreviations
  2. For date ranges or life spans
  3. For page numbers
  4. For measurements

1.   For multiple-letter abbreviations

Perhaps the most common things that you’ll find in parentheses are acronyms, which are multiple-letter abbreviations, usually for things like organizations, schools, and leagues.

For example

  1. “He goes to Michigan State University (MSU).”
  2. “My father played in the National Basketball Association (NBA).”
  3. “I need some paid time off (PTO).”

The first example (MSU) is an abbreviation of three-letter words Michigan State University.

The Second example (NBA) is an abbreviation of the three-letter words National Basketball Association.

Same in the third example (PTO) is an abbreviation of three-letter words paid time off.

2.   For date ranges or life spans

Another everyday use of parentheses is for date ranges or life spans:

For example

  1. “World War III (2150 to 2154) was very deadly.”
  2. “Jim Jones (1844 – 1900) was a very kind man.”

The first example (2150 to 2154) is the date range in parenthesis.

In second sentence (1844 – 1900) is a range of years in parenthesis.

3.   For page numbers:

We can also use parentheses for page numbers.

For example

  1. “For homework, please read Chapter 3 (pages 43 to 57).”
  2. “The main part of the syllabus is from English book chapter 4 (pages 30 to 90).”

Parenthesis is also used for page numbers. The first example (pages 43 to 57) is the page numbers in parenthesis for chapter 3.

The second example (pages 30 to 90) is the page numbers in parenthesis for English book chapter 4.

 4.   For measurements

And we might also use them for measurements.

For example

  1. “The model is two feet (24 inches)
  2. “His height is 6 feet (72 inches)

In the first example (24 inches) are measurements for two feet in parenthesis.

In the first example (72 inches) are measurements for 6 feet height in parenthesis.

Methods to Use Parenthesis

I think you get the idea. The point is we use parentheses to surround extra information in a sentence, kind of like we would with commas but for more specific things. And other than that basic idea, there are only three things that you need to remember when using parentheses.

  • Parenthesis come before primary information
  • Parenthesis come after primary information
  • Punctuation inside parentheses

1.   Parenthesis come before primary information

First, the stuff in parentheses should always come after the primary information.

For example

Like, you wouldn’t say this:

  1. “Randy played in the (NFL) National Football League.”

You want the stuff in parentheses —the “parenthetical information “—to come after the main info.  You also don’t want to use the extra information as the primary information.

So, like, this would be wrong too:

  1. “Randy played in the NFL (National Football League).”

The acronym should come after the full name, not before.

2.   Parenthesis come after primary information

And the only other rule that you need to remember is that you should take the stuff in parentheses out of your sentence and still have a sentence left. And that includes having all of the punctuation marks that you would need.

For example

  1. “Today, we learned about World War I, which lasted from (1914 to 1918).”

Now, at a glance, this might look correct to you. There’s extra information here; it’s a date; we’re all good.

Look what would happen if we took the stuff in parentheses out of this sentence; what would the rest of it say?

  1. “Today, we learned about World War I, which lasted from.”

The point I’m getting here is that you can’t just put parentheses around every date or every acronym or every page number you see. You have to look to make sure that you can take away that stuff and still have a sentence. And the same thing is true for situations like this:

  1. “I’d like you guys to read Chapter 7 (pages 88 to 99.)”

Now, if we remove the stuff in parentheses here, there is still a sentence:

  1. “I’d like you guys to read Chapter 7.”

Except there’s one small problem—do you see it? Putting the period inside the parentheses as we did means we would take out the period from the sentence, which would be a problem because, you know, sentences need periods—or some end mark at least. The correct version of that sentence would look like this

—with the period on the outside, so it doesn’t get, like, hijacked and deleted from the sentence with the other stuff.

3.   Punctuation inside parentheses

Now, you can have punctuation inside parentheses. It doesn’t always have to go on the outside. My point was that you have to look at it and sort of, you know, use your brain a little bit.

Example 1

  1. “Many fast-food restaurants (McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.) are trying to add healthier options to their menus.”

It is correct because I still have a complete sentence with all of the correct punctuation when I take out all the stuff in parentheses. The period inside the parentheses here is supposed to be inside the parentheses because it’s part of the abbreviation. If I put that period outside and then took out the stuff in parentheses, you can see that I’d have a bit of a problem. Let’s take a look at a few examples and see if they’re correct or not?

  1. “The Civil War (1861 to 1865) was very bloody.”

So the first thing we need to do is make sure that the stuff in parentheses is extra information—and it is. It tells us more about the Civil War.

So, now all we need to do is see what would happen if we take that information out.

  1. “The Civil War was very bloody.”

Yeah, that sounds good. That’s correct.

Example 2

  1. “GVSU (Grand Valley State University) is a great school.”

So, look at the information in parentheses. What do you think? Is it extra? Is that stuff that we don’t need? No, right? That’s not extra; that’s the primary information.

“GVSU”—the acronym—is what should be in parentheses. It is how the sentence should look.

  1. “The temperature was 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius.)”

So, check the information in parentheses; is it extra? Yes, it is. Now, let’s see if we can take it out and still have a sentence.

Because what did we do? Well, we hijacked the period.

With the period inside the parentheses like that, if we take this stuff out, that means the period would go away too, which is a problem because then we wouldn’t end our sentence. So, to fix that, we would very simply do this.

Example 3

  1. “I found the answer in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section of the website.”

Take a look at the stuff in the parentheses, and see if it is extra. Cool, it is.

Uses of parenthesis Rhetorical

We use it in English all the time. Do you know about the intonation pattern that we use when we use parentheses? These are precisely the things I’m going to help you with within life speech. We tend to think, feel and speak almost simultaneously. It means that we might have more information or more context to add part of the way through one thought. Or we might want to express our feelings or opinions about what we’ve just said before we continue. And that’s parentheses. We tend to use it midway through an ongoing thought.

For example

  1. “The issue with how he approaches these challenges (and this has been going on for some time) focuses on the problem and not the solution.”

So the part between brackets is parenthesized. However, it’s a bit of information that isn’t essential. But it’s a different context than we were giving that expresses a bit of how we feel.

Pitch of voice during parenthesis rhetorical

Now typically in parentheses, we tend to change the pitch of our voice to indicate that this is a sort of an aside. It’s commentary. It’s extra information. It makes us sound more spontaneous. But it’s the pitch of the voice that indicates that that indeed is the parenthetical comment.

For example

  1. “The issue with how he approaches these challenges (and this has been going on for some time) focuses on the problem and not the solution.”

So, at the (and this has been going on for some time), the voice pitch will change. The pitch of my voice went down on the parenthetical comment. This down pitch of the voice will show that this is the parenthesis part of the rhetorical.

In addition to this, we tend to use a rising or an upward inflection on the last word in the parenthetical comment. To indicate that it was about to rejoin the main thing that we were talking about, the main thought was the main comment.

Conclusion

In this article, there is complete information about the parenthesis rhetorical. If you are confused about parenthesis and want to know about parenthesis rhetorical, you are in the right place. You can get complete information about what parenthesis is rhetorical or how to use it. From this article, you can also learn how to pronounce the parenthesis in our daily life speech.