Parentheses Make Words Invisible · 6 July 2019

Parentheses make words invisible in a composition. (Or at least they are supposed to.)

I have written previously that parentheses make words invisible. It was in one of those “But that is another story” parenthetical remarks that I often make in my blog (see Parentheses). Which are usually in parentheses which is why you might not have seen the remark.

At any rate, I have already commented about how I use parentheses far too much in my posts (again, see Parentheses), but I wanted to write about the thought that words become invisible when enclosed in parentheses.

(If you want to go back to the original post by following the link in parentheses in the last paragraph, now would be a good time. Go ahead. I will wait.)

(By the way, if you thought at least one sentence in that old post was crazy, so did I when I looked back at it. I know what I wanted to say, but I did not say it very well. “I actually do understand that parentheses are supposed to add clarity or make prose easier to read. And they can be used when using commas to serve that purpose just does not work.” What I really meant by that statement was that there are times when you want to clarify things with an added phrase that could be placed between commas, but parentheses make things clearer than the commas would. Or something like that.)

(By the way, I thought it rather coincidental that I wrote about parentheses a couple years ago. Almost to the day. At least the day it was released to the wild.)

Words (and even paragraphs) can become invisible when put in parentheses. I know this because I have skipped over parenthetical statements before, and I know I cannot be the only one who does that. Or at least I think I know that. (After all, who can really know that they are not completely unique in something or even somethings.) So even though parenthetical remarks can be clarifying or add additional content or give the reader some insight into a writer’s psyche (doubtful), they can also just make the writing therein invisible. After all, when you are skimming through things, it is far too easy to just skip the parenthetical thoughts.

Think about it. Who really reads every word anymore? People just gloss over the stuff on the internet. Social media has done that to people. Look at the picture, skim the words, then move on.

Geoffrey had a gall…
Bernice shaved her…
Glenda had a house…

Wait. Go back and read that whole thing.

Glenda had a house dropped on her cousin. She arranged it to look like the cause was the weather or the sudden appearance of a strange girl (who is now in said cousin’s ruby slippers) and her little dog too.

Yes, I know. There are some people who read every word in their social media feeds. They are scrolling and scrolling and scrolling down the page. They look at all the pictures and read all the captions. They read and they read and they read. And they are still stuck reading and looking at pictures because there is never an end to a feed. They just go on and on and on and on and on… And those poor people who keep scrolling do not realize it. They just keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling and scrolling… (Boy, that got old fast.)

Now where was I?

Ah yes. Not ranting about social media. In fact, I actually like social media. It lets me see what other people are doing. (I cannot imagine having everything I do on social media, but what do I know.) And I can do a quick post about my writing or other projects that I put on the internet. I am not that great at self promotion or using social media, but that is okay. I still like it.

But back to parentheses. They are marvelous composition constructs and I like to use them. Sometimes too much. But somehow they make words and thoughts invisible. Or at least I used to think so. (Not so sure anymore.) Or maybe I just said it and then it became true for me. (A likely story.) Or maybe I just said it for some reason that I do not remember. (A more likely story.) At any rate, I like parentheses (as if you could not already tell) and sometimes I think I am being clever by hiding my thoughts in them. Even if it is not true that parentheses make words invisible.

So like I said in the previous post about parentheses (you can still check it out with this link), if you are wondering why this one is so short, just go back and read the stuff in parentheses. It is there, you just need to get out your secret decoder ring and spy glasses to see the invisible stuff in parentheses.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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