Hallo.
I know it's completely useless and very confusing, but what are the rules surrounding parentheses within parentheses? My understanding is that, to separate a phrase, you would use "( )" first and "[ ]" to separate something within the "( )".

For example, if I want to put something in parentheses (to add a little info about it [and likely confuse people]), I would first use parentheses and then use square brackets inside.

What happens if you want to put another set of brackets within that second set?

For example, if I want to put something in multiple parentheses (to add a little info about it [and likely confuse {or annoy} people]), would I use the curly brackets as the third step?

If I wanted a fourth set, would it be "< >"?

I know there's probably no practical reason for using this many sets inside each other, and that you could easily format with different punctuation for clarity, but I want to know what is technically correct.

Thanks in advance,
Shayne
New Member01
It depends. For general English writing, I have not seen any rules.The guidance I would give is to write with clarity in mind.
In computer languages, the rules and syntax are very precise and rigid.
Veteran Member22,846
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Anonymous:
What if you want to use an acronym within a parentheses as in (see the Technical Lab Report [TLR] for further instructions)? Is that formatted properly? Or would you use another set of parentheses as opposed to the bracket?
Anonymous:
The proper way is the use brackets within the parentheses, i.e.:

Johnny went to the store with his list of items (bread, milk [fat free], peanut butter, and jelly), but only came home with the bread.

Never use parentheses within parentheses.
Anonymous:
I just googled a related question, "how to use parentheses inside parantheses" and the link to this post came up. It (this post <and its solitary answer/reply>) didn't exactly answer my question, as I was only hoping to learn about a secondary set of parantheses within a primary set of parentheses, (not a set within a set within a set within a set) but it gave me my best laugh all day, if not week.

I am very prone to parentheses when I write. Sometimes I wonder if I am abusing them (parentheses), and if so, why? Also, I like slashes/dashes. But not as much as parentheses.
It all depends on the style guide, and different publishers specify different style guides.

For example, this one, http://www.sdap.org/downloads/Style-Manual.pdf

(California legal style guide) says to start with parentheses and thereafter use brackets inside parentheses and parentheses inside brackets. It can go on indefinitely with this alternating pattern. If this rule is applied without discretion, you will end up with what we euphemistically term "legalese".

(here is [example 1 (2011 [more details]), example 2 (2010 [yet more blah blah details])] how it might look!)
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Anonymous:
Anonymous .I am very prone to parentheses when I write. Sometimes I wonder if I am abusing them (parentheses), and if so, why? Also, I like slashes/dashes. But not as much as parentheses.
I am the same way. I think it is part of our natural style and preference, for me, part of the musicality of my writing. I think we may be abusing if our writing is confusing or fails to communicate. Leary with our readers. If not--"parenthetize" away! (I alo love to make up words.
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