Using Brackets for Clarity

A man carrying a bow and arrow in a mystical image.You may not use brackets often, but they can become helpful punctuation in academic writing as you integrate quotes into your essays. You should use brackets when you have to alter text within a quote to make something clear for your readers.

The brackets let your readers know you have made changes to the quote in some way. The material inside the brackets is your addition.

For example, if you need to add information to a quote for clarity, you would use brackets.

She said, “They [the vampire hunters] were after me, but it was all a big mistake.”

Here, your readers would know the vampire hunters were not a part of that particular quote and you added the words for clarity.

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