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This essay concerns the use -- and, particularly, the overuse and misuse -- of explanatory parentheticals in legal briefs. The essay describes four particular concerns about parentheticals that appear in briefs. Parentheticals shouldn't be used to repeat what you’ve just said or to say something that easily can be taken out of the parenthetical and placed in ordinary text. Generally, parentheticals shouldn't be used to drive the substance of a brief. The ordinary prose should do that work. And if there’s a good reason to use a parenthetical, try to place it at the end of a paragraph where it won’t interrupt the reader’s understanding of your ideas. And, finally, within a parenthetical, prefer ordinary English, so the reader knows immediately what you’re talking about. This essay discusses each of these points in more detail.

Publication Citation

The Second Draft, Volume 34, No. 3, Dec. 9, 2021.