Full stops. Inside or outside of brackets?

Ok, this is a short answer. A full stop appears inside the brackets, if the bracket contains a complete sentence.

She wore the red dress that evening. (Her sister wore the gold one.)
John needed the answer for question 7. (Jeff was struggling with question 1.)

The full stop appears outside of the brackets if the brackets don’t contain a complete sentence.

She wore the red dress that evening (and her sister wore the gold one).
John needed the answer for question 7 (however Jeff was struggling with question 1).

Simple, no?


This is better:

John needed the answer for question 7 (but Jeff was struggling with question 1).


  • Matt Hill
    Posted at 14:13h, 27 July Reply

    I’ve always wondered about that! Thanks for clarifying 🙂

  • jen
    Posted at 01:41h, 31 July Reply

    argh! thanks so much. i’ve been writing essays recently and been thinking about that.

  • pema
    Posted at 11:45h, 22 September Reply

    does that apply to all punctuation?

  • Morag
    Posted at 15:18h, 16 November Reply

    Because if it’s not a full sentence, the full stop is actually punctuating the whole sentence, not just the bit in brackets.

    I must admit, I do get confused on where the full stop or comma appears in relation to quote marks. Any advice, please?

  • mudwig
    Posted at 20:41h, 26 December Reply

    but what if there’s a question mark to end half a sentence appearing in brackets? would it be supposed to go inside the brackets (if you know what i mean?)
    a full stop would go outside but a question mark goes inside?

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 11:59h, 30 December Reply

      Hey mudwig
      Yep, that’s right.
      It’s really hot today (don’t you think?).

      • Mudwig
        Posted at 13:22h, 06 January Reply

        a question mark and full stop together at last! amazing. they say you learn something new every day but i think this can be my new learnt thing for at least a week.

    • Michael Davies
      Posted at 16:44h, 26 January Reply

      If only the sentence within the bracket contains a question that you put it inside the brackets, but if both sentences or just the sentence OUTSIDE is a question you put the question mark after the brackets

  • Horus
    Posted at 09:50h, 12 May Reply

    Yes, that’s clear, thank you. But what about a list within brackets, ending with an abbreviation, e.g. ltd. or etc.

    As in:
    A relationship between wine consumption and lower rates of heart disease can be seen in many Mediterranean countries (Italy, France, Spain, Greece, etc.).


    The company has changed its official name a number of times (originally it was registered as Acme Ltd.).

    I can’t find any reason to leave out either of the full stops, but the sight of ‘dot-bracket-dot’ makes me uncomfortable. Any insight?


    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 10:33h, 12 May Reply

      That’s perfectly acceptable. The way round it of course is to write A relationship between wine consumption and lower rates of heart disease can be seen in many Mediterranean countries (e.g. Italy, France, Spain, Greece).
      Or The company has changed its official name a number of times (originally it was registered as Acme Limited). The company has changed its official name a number of times; originally it was registered as Acme Ltd.

      • Eyeofhorus
        Posted at 21:43h, 12 May Reply

        Wow, thank you for the reply!

        You’re right – there are ways around it, but it’s also good to hear that “.).” is ok. (Ha, that looks like an emoticon!)

        Of your suggestions, the semicolon is definitely the most elegant.


  • Gary
    Posted at 11:18h, 01 June Reply

    refreshing to get a straight answer to a straight question. need more of this online!

  • Ally
    Posted at 01:43h, 22 August Reply

    Ahh, thanks for this (I always wondered, finally thought to clarify!). :p

  • Nicola A Hare
    Posted at 10:54h, 05 October Reply

    What a helpful and clear explanation to somehting that always causes me so much grief!
    Thank you so much,


  • Christophe Dillinger
    Posted at 20:22h, 30 November Reply

    I am not sure at all the first few sentences are accurate. I mena, isn’t a bracket used to separate two sections within a phrase? What would be the point of a bracket system containing a whole phrase in this condition? I have never seen an example of this type of contruction (Iwould be glad if you could provide me with a link).

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 08:48h, 01 December Reply

      Hi Christophe

      The examples are correct. If you want to find out more check out the Penguin Guide to Punctuation. http://amzn.to/t5XLUa

      • sarah-jane landsman
        Posted at 07:44h, 25 December Reply

        What about commas, are they always outside the bracket?

  • wso reviews
    Posted at 22:08h, 20 December Reply

    wso reviews…

    […]Full stops. Inside or outside of brackets? « Copywriting Blog from Turner Ink[…]…

  • Grow Your Business The right Way !
    Posted at 15:24h, 09 January Reply

    Grow Your Business The right Way !…

    […]Full stops. Inside or outside of brackets? « Copywriting Blog from Turner Ink[…]…

  • Stuart Edwards - Am I Nearly There Yet
    Posted at 15:43h, 20 February Reply

    Thanks for this!

    Solved a long running tiff between the missus and I!
    Following you on Twitter now! 🙂


  • Klara
    Posted at 11:25h, 06 May Reply

    Thanks!!! that helped a lot!!! (It was my English homework.)

  • Adriana
    Posted at 15:33h, 30 July Reply

    Whatever I wanted to ask about brackets and punctuation, you’ve answered it. Plainly and simply. Thank you!

  • David Robinson
    Posted at 10:03h, 27 August Reply

    Clear, thanks. (Surely though, you need a comma after the ‘however’ in: “however Jeff was struggling with question 1”, do you not ?

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 10:28h, 27 August Reply

      Yes! ‘However’ used in a sentence without the brackets would be
      John needed the answer for question 7; however, Jeff was struggling with question 1.
      However, (!) I think the word however is wrong here. I’m going to suggest but or although are better.

  • Ben Stuart
    Posted at 11:27h, 04 September Reply

    I’m always getting confused by this, thanks for clearing it up. The strange thing is I’m sure we were never once taught this at school during English lessons.

  • Heather
    Posted at 02:46h, 09 November Reply

    This amazing post, “Full stops. Inside or outside of brackets?
    | Turner Ink Copywriting London UK” reveals that u comprehend just what exactly you are
    writing about! I thoroughly agree with your post. Thanks ,Temeka

  • Popples
    Posted at 09:16h, 26 December Reply


  • Dennis Bell
    Posted at 19:53h, 05 January Reply

    “Solved a long running tiff between the missus and I!”

    Surely ‘the missus and me’ rather than I.

  • Sunny
    Posted at 14:30h, 28 January Reply

    Great, thanks! I’ve seen it written both ways and never knew the reasoning behind either, till now. ^_^

  • Ilika
    Posted at 18:54h, 18 February Reply

    It really surprised me when I realized that I didn’t know the answer to this question. Thanks 🙂

  • KALpZ
    Posted at 16:55h, 28 April Reply

    How to write a business address and mobile on a business card? Like my company name is Mayrose global (UK) ltd. Also mobile number format as I travel around the world a lot. Shud it be printed as +44 7889 11 33 55 or + 44(0) 7889 11 33 55

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 11:09h, 08 July Reply

      Hi there
      The zero is part of your whole mobile number. So if I wanted to call you I’d dial 07889 113 355. On your card it should be +44 (O)7889 113 355 with the zero next to the number. In the UK we tend to have five numbers followed by two sets of three. But as your number is a nice easy one to remember it’s ok to have three sets of two. +44 (0)7889 11 33 55.

      • Helen
        Posted at 11:50h, 30 April Reply

        I agree with the above, but why then, is your number diplayed as 020 8696 9525? 3 numbers, then 4, then 4? Surely the format 02086 969 525 is more memorable that way too?

        • Sarah Turner
          Posted at 10:20h, 19 May Reply

          The code for London is 020. So we say the code first followed by eight digits beginning with an 8 or 7 or a 3. These are normally said in two banks of four. But if the numbers lend themselves to be said in another way that’s ok too. E.g. 020 8 44 33 22 6. Although I would still write it as 020 8443 3226 on a website, letterhead or business card.

  • Emmanuel Ashimi
    Posted at 17:26h, 06 May Reply

    Thank you a lot. It now becomes clearer to me. Best wishes

  • Matthew Gaseltine
    Posted at 14:44h, 11 May Reply

    This is really helpful but does it apply with all other punctuation as well?

  • It’s all about loving yourself | Swat of All Trades
    Posted at 11:05h, 01 July Reply

    […] If you have noticed that I used too many brackets in this blog post, it’s because I learnt this today. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like […]

    • Gireesh Balan
      Posted at 07:15h, 24 May Reply

      This doubt always robbed my sleep…thanks a ton for clarification….

  • bob
    Posted at 20:02h, 19 October Reply


  • Luke Newbery
    Posted at 01:37h, 05 January Reply

    Hope I haven’t missed this, but what about where ellipses are used within the bracket? From what you’ve said it seems like it still wants a full stop after.

    So it would go something like this (or that’s what I think anyway…).


  • Amira
    Posted at 18:17h, 28 January Reply

    Oh!! thanks so much for answering this question simply because I’ve been wondering about it since.

  • Krishna Mohan
    Posted at 19:10h, 16 June Reply

    Thanks , this was really useful 🙂

  • kiara
    Posted at 05:38h, 13 May Reply

    ok cheers.

  • Mishal Benny
    Posted at 10:06h, 19 May Reply

    Thanks for the help!
    I have been writing a book review as our school project.
    (I have been wondering about this topic for a few days now.)

  • AshokAshok
    Posted at 10:13h, 19 May Reply

    thanks for this – very helpful.

  • John Harrison
    Posted at 14:22h, 16 December Reply

    Wonderful. I’ve written 6 books without understanding the pattern in the copywriter’s corrections (maybe because they didn’t all know). Wonderful when it’s so logical. Thank you

  • Miss Lost
    Posted at 11:00h, 04 May Reply

    throughout the exchange (M2a, M3, M5 etc.) In these sections
    do i need a full stop after the bracket?

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 13:06h, 09 May Reply

      Yes if it’s the end of the sentence. So…throughout the exchange (M2a, M3, M5 etc.).

  • Yushay
    Posted at 01:16h, 19 June Reply

    Thanks, Sarah! This really helped. 🙂

  • Matthew
    Posted at 08:03h, 11 October Reply

    in this agreement the Landlord is referred to as “Landlord.” or “Landlord”.
    Which is correct please.

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 12:53h, 11 October Reply

      Good question Matthew. Outside the speech marks.

  • Wale
    Posted at 09:24h, 01 December Reply


  • Barney Dormer
    Posted at 13:03h, 01 November Reply

    How about after an ellipsis, such as:

    They were heading out into uncharted territory (and had no idea what the future had in store…)

    Do I need a full stop outside the brackets here?

    Many thanks (in advance).

  • Pippa O'Brien
    Posted at 08:54h, 02 April Reply

    Thank you so much for the help! I was writing an essay started wondering about it.

  • dick dom
    Posted at 20:13h, 07 April Reply

    very (gud).

  • Rose Wilson
    Posted at 03:41h, 25 April Reply

    CD you help with this example.

    The moon was pale yellow that night. (John Smith). Inside or outside brackets

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 10:44h, 19 June Reply

      (John Smith.)

  • Julia Farino
    Posted at 19:07h, 01 May Reply

    What if the part in the brackets is an exclamation and then the sentence ends? Eg I have to work two extra days (no rest for the wicked!). Do you need the full stop as well outside the brackets to finish the overall sentence?

  • Amelie Malanina
    Posted at 08:44h, 11 November Reply

    Thank you so much I have always wondered about this, it helps a lot 🙂
    Keep up the good work!!

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.