Pesky Periods & Parentheses

People seem puzzled by pesky periods and parentheses and how to use them with skill and confidence.

Recently, I've seen both pros and amateurs make similar mistakes in articles, reports, memos, brochures, websites and blogs.

Let's take a quick look at two examples and see if we can spot and fix the problems.
The website would benefit from a carefully executed upgrade (this doesn’t need to be complicated.)

Tackle the process in four easy stages (update content; revamp structure; redesign template; launch revised site.)
What's wrong? The period is placed inside the closing parenthesis. This is incorrect.

So, when you're mixing periods and parentheses, what rules apply?

Periods are most frequently used to indicate the end of a complete thought or sentence. When the information contained inside the parentheses is part of the thought or sentence, the period is always outside the closing parenthesis. Always.

To fix our examples, move the period as shown:

The website would benefit from a carefully executed upgrade (this doesn’t need to be complicated).

Tackle the process in four easy stages (update content; revamp structure; redesign template; launch revised site).
When should the period be placed inside the parentheses?

It's simple. If you’re using parentheses to enclose a complete, stand-alone sentence, the period belongs inside, too. For example:

The website would benefit from a carefully executed upgrade. (This doesn’t need to be complicated.)

Tackle the process in four easy stages. (First update content, then revamp the structure, redesign the template and launch the revised site.)
Follow these basic guidelines, and you'll use periods and parentheses like a pro.

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