I have a very simple phrase:

I want to introduce Adam's kid

I want to insert a pair of parentheses for Adam, say, should be like this:

I want to introduce Adam (my friend)'s kid

But I'm not sure about spacing/the order of ' and (). Like, should I put a space before the '?

The following also looks pretty good to me:

I want to introduce Adam's (my friend) kid

I want to introduce Adam (my friend) 's kid

but there must be a better choice (which is what I want).

  • 1
    There is no way to answer this question unless you show us the full sentence without parentheses, and what you are considering for a revised version including parentheses. The general rule is that completely removing a pair of parentheses and all between them must leave a valid sentence. Because of that rule, I would be surprised if the answer does not end up being "Agda's (describe Agda)". Dec 12 '18 at 5:20
  • I can think of no good reason to put the apostrophe outside the parentheses. That's not what parentheses are for. Anyway, as the other have said, we can't really understand what you are trying to say without a full sentence.
    – Andrew
    Dec 12 '18 at 6:06
  • @CinCout Added a complete sentence.
    – ice1000
    Dec 12 '18 at 8:34
  • @RossMurray Added a complete sentence.
    – ice1000
    Dec 12 '18 at 8:34
  • @Andrew Added a complete sentence.
    – ice1000
    Dec 12 '18 at 8:35

There may be ways of phrasing the sentence so that parentheses are not needed, but if you want to use parentheses, you can do so.

Whatever is inside parentheses has no grammatical impact on anything outside of them; however, that doesn't mean that things can't look awkward.

In your sentence, assuming I used parentheses, I would write it like this:

I want to introduce Adam's (my friend's) kid.

The multiple use of the possessive is redundant—but so, in some ways, is the use of parentheses in the first place. And the repetition of the possessive here avoids the awkwardness of only having it in one place.

  • Yes, this one looks pretty good to me!
    – ice1000
    Dec 14 '18 at 0:23

There is no reason to put 'my friend' in parentheses. You could use either:

I want to introduce my friend Adam's kid.

I want to introduce the kid of my friend Adam.


The "better way" is not to use the parentheses at all:

I want to introduce my friend Adam's kid

Parentheses should be used to introduce nonessential information. Parentheses are like whispers or footnotes -- they may be interesting facts, but it should be fine if the reader ignores them.

In this case, let's assume it not important that Adam is your friend. What is important is the introduction of his son. It's more organized if you keep the information in the parentheses related solely to Adam, and limit its relationship to his son. Although it's not elegant, you could write something like:

I want to introduce (my friend) Adam's kid.

This is not a grammatical rule, so it would also be fine to write something like:

I want to introduce Adam's (which is to say, my friend's) kid.

Which you choose is entirely up to your personal style.

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