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Puddle Jumper
04-12-2006, 09:01 AM
What is the purpose of using [brackets] in a sentence? I see them most often in news or magazine articles.

veronie
04-12-2006, 09:07 AM
Do you see them mostly in quotations?

Puddle Jumper
04-12-2006, 09:09 AM
Do you see them mostly in quotations?
Yes.

veronie
04-12-2006, 09:15 AM
The reason I ask is that magazines and newspapers might use them instead of parentheses in quotes to help the reader understand what the quote is referring to.

For example, let's say someone is giving a speech and says, "The FBI goons are morons. The agency consistently screws up facts and doesn't seem to know its butt from a hole in the ground."

Now, let's say you wanted to quote only the second sentence. You might write:

"[The FBI] consistently screws up facts and doesn't seem to know its butt from a hole in the ground," Scotty Complainer said.

Other publications use parentheses instead of brackets.

maestrowork
04-12-2006, 11:01 AM
It's also used for clarification when the original quote is missing something:

"I like [the way] we do things around [here]," said the mayor.

reph
04-12-2006, 12:09 PM
"[The FBI] consistently screws up facts and doesn't seem to know its butt from a hole in the ground," Scotty Complainer said.A reporter might use brackets that way. Brackets are necessary whenever you change anything in quoted speech or writing. Reporters change quotes to condense them, as above, and to remove vulgarity, correct a speaker's grammar, and clarify what a speaker stated poorly or without enough background information.

Chickenchargrill
04-12-2006, 12:21 PM
Just to add another example. If the interviewee is discussing someone or something, but just say "He left me to die." Then they might type it up as "[Stephen] left me to die." Especially if he or they could refer to more than one person or it is unclear who they are.