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Chapter 7 - Brackets

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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Brackets are used to enclose editorial interpolations, corrections, explanations, or comments in quoted material.


Resist the temptation to use "[sic]," which in Latin means "that's your mistake, fella, not mine," to point out a mistake in a quotation. Instead, try to fix the problem in the quoted passage.

Sic 'em

"This law does not apply in our grate [sic] state."

Better: "This law does not apply in our [great] state."

The expression "[sic]" can also be used to show that something that looks strange is intentionally written that way:

"He used the name e. e. cummings [sic]."

Intrusions of the Writer in Quotations

Use brackets to enclose an intrusion of the writer in a quotation.

Intrusion in a Quotation

"We refuse to consider [the Jones Report]."

Notice that inserting bracketed material does not prompt a need for the "ellipsis signal": three dots used to show omission.


Previous: Parentheses and Other Punctuation

Next: Parentheticals Within Parentheses

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