1. Process
  2. Conclusions
  3. Conciseness
  4. Verbs
  5. Data
  6. Conventions

5.0 Put data in tables and bullets, not in parentheses

Many people clutter their writing with too much punctuation, with too many levels of speech, or with signs rather than words. In writing COMs, long parentheses, especially mid-sentence parentheses in complex sentences, can force the reader to reread. Such parentheses are likely to arise from a desire to show data supporting a point.

Reduce your use of parentheses; instead, integrate your data as a subordinate idea into the sentence, the main idea of which should concern your conclusions.

The most usual solutions for tactics for reducing parenthetical breaks are these:

  • recast the sentence to work the parentheses to the end, where they usually prove needless
  • use a structured format like a table, chart, or bullets for the data and then use sentences to draw conclusions from the data
  • make a separate sentence out of the parenthetical material
  • drop the parenthetical idea entirely