I came across the word "[b]ilingual" when reading this online article from Medical News Today.com.

Prof. Marian explains in the paper that "[b]ilinguals' ability to seamlessly switch between two distinct communication systems masks the considerable control exerted at the neural level."

This is my first time to see that way of using "[]" brackets like "[b]ilingual", and I wonder what it means or how you use it. Could you explain it?


1 Answer 1


The use of square brackets in a quotation means that that part of the quotation has been changed in some way to keep it grammatical and avoid changing its meaning when it’s taken from its context. But in this case they’re being overly pedantic about it, since the only difference from the original is that the “B” was upper-case in the original.

  • 2
    To go along with this, [sic] in a quotation means that the preceding part was left unchanged, even though it may be erroneous in some way.
    – Barmar
    Sep 23, 2020 at 17:15

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