ParenthesesThese little boogers are used to set aside text which isn't relative to the rest of the sentence. Often used by writers to insert a thought or quip that's totally off the subject by the character that we're seeing life through. In a more scholarly application, they're used for citations. You may combine them with em dashes. Writers of fiction tend to avoid the use of parentheses, choosing to use an em dash instead.
If you're quoting something written by someone else, and wish to add your two cents to the quote, you need square brackets. If you're translating, the original word is sometimes put in line with square brackets around it. When you want to set something off inside parentheses, you don't use another set of parentheses, you use square brackets.
Angle Brackets and Braces
These are for html programming and are used to tell a typesetter how you want your manuscript to look. While we don't do this much nowadays because of computers, way back when we used typewriters, it was a necessity. Please don't use them to set off an e-mail address or your URL. It'll cause you headaches at some point.
SlashesCan be used to replace "or," "and," "through," or "a" between words or numbers to signify alternatives. It's also used in URLs rather heavily. When quoting poetry, slashes indicate line breaks. Remember, there's a difference between a slash and a backslash. Examples:
She had an outgoing/friendly personality.
He wanted a black/blue/red car.
We were looking for a 1992/93 model car, but we'll take a 2005/6 edition if it's an SUV. **Replaced an en dash**
Please go to: c:\dos\windows\user
I hope you learned something today you didn't know before.
Well, that's all for today folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!