Apostrophes, Brackets, Parentheses and Ellipses

Apostrophes ’

Apostrophes are very handy indicators to use in sentences. Thybhey are used to indicate possession.

Here are some examples:

John’s car was a different colour from my sister’s car.’
‘I turned the corner to be confronted by my manager’s assistant.’
’The politician met his mother’s expectations but failed to meet his electors’ expectations.’

If the apostrophe is not used, then Johns and sisters become plural as if you are talking about more than one John or sister (as in electors, which is plural). Using the apostrophe makes a possessive. If you need to indicate possession at the end of a word that is a plural, like electors, you simply add it to the end.

Brackets and Parentheses  [  ]   (  )

Parentheses are used to enclose references or citations and are also used to enclose extra information. Parentheses will accentuate material that is related to the rest of the sentence.

Here are a few examples:

‘When John was confronted by Betty (his manager’s assistant) he was most upset.’
‘Betty had asked John (several weeks ago) to provide her with important information.’

Brackets (sometimes called square brackets) are used to enclose material that does not necessarily belong to the surrounding text. This information can be added by another person other than the writer. They are also used for translations, corrections and insertions.

Here are some examples:

‘The information provided was not enough. [ As your manager, I require more detailed information please ].’
‘The French actor was bad‘ [ Correction: This should read: ‘The Frenchman’s acting was below par’ ].

You can also use parentheses if you need to insert words into a direct quotation to make it read well, or to indicate than an error was in the original quotation, as in these examples:

The interviewee stated that ‘there were always errors in [her] work’.
The interviewee stated that ‘I hate me [sic] job’.

Indicate Your Omission with Ellipses   …

Ellipses are three full stops together indicating an omission.
You need to let your reader know if you have omitted a word, line, phrase or more, from a quoted passage. Ellipsis points may be used with other punctuation preceding or following. In written dialogue, it can indicate a pause, an unfinished thought, or a trailing off into silence.

Here are some examples:

‘The politician had to think hard … he had lied before.’
‘Never before, have so many … for so few.’ [Churchill’s famous speech]
John had been beaten and was losing consciousness. He thought ‘If I black out …’

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