What are curly braces used for?

The brackets as punctuation marks

(Use of the round and square brackets in the German language)

When are parentheses used?

In the German language, round brackets are used to add additional information to a sentence. They can be used as an alternative to commas or dashes as long as they include additional explanations. The following use is possible:

  1. Inserting additional information:
    • "The new BMW was presented yesterday (after a long wait)."
    • "At the summit in Buenos Aires (Argentina) there were no new findings."
  2. Adding whole explanatory sentences:
    • "Unfortunately we got caught in a traffic jam on the autobahn (it stretched over eight kilometers) and missed our flight."

When are square brackets used?

Square brackets are mainly used within round brackets and follow the same rules as mentioned above. This means that you add further information to the content of the round brackets. An example of this would be:

  • "The results that the team (Doctor Müller and Mr. Baller [together they are the heads of the development department]) were able to publish, are groundbreaking."

In addition, they can also be used alone, i. H. cannot be used in conjunction with round brackets. In most cases, this occurs in quotations:

  1. To add information to quotations:
    • "The engineer stated: 'Even if we carry out the test again [he describes the crash test with the T14], the situation will not change." "
  2. To clarify omissions in quotations:
    • "The assistant explains the incident with the words: '[...] and when we then established the connection, it came to a total collapse due to overload." "

What should you watch out for when using brackets?

Brackets can only be used in pairs and it is important to ensure that sentences in brackets always begin with a lowercase letter. This also applies to question and exclamation sentences with a question mark or exclamation mark at the end. In these cases it is also possible to add another punctuation mark such as a comma. Compare:

  • Question mark within the brackets:
    • "I answered with a resounding no (who am I?) And decidedly declined his offer."
  • Exclamation mark inside the brackets, followed by a comma:
    • "She screamed and screamed (come over!), But I didn't care."
  • Point after bracket:
    • "The saleswoman locked the door and took a break (as she did every day)."

Further explanations relating to the topic of »Use of round and square brackets«

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