The Parenthesis question : LUSENET : Medley Discussion : One Thread

Suppose you're typing along and you want to use one of those ubiquitous smiley faces. You know, the ones that look like: :-). Suppose further that you're inside a parenthetical expression when you do this, and further that the smiley face is the last thing you're going to put inside that parenthetical expression. Here's the question: What do you think about using the ')' that is part of the smiley face as your closing parenthesis? Here are two examples to compare and contrast:
(blah blah blah. :-)
(blah blah blah. :-) )
As has been pointed out to me, another way to think about this is: Do you prefer your text to be literally balanced or logically balanced?

-- Medley (, June 26, 2000


I prefer being unbalanced. After a long struggle with this issue, I find that for informal writing it is better to omit the final ) than to have a double chin.

As to the use of emoticons in formal writing . . . . ;) !!


-- Leonard Grossman (, June 26, 2000.

Lyn, you're still a freak either way, no matter how many ASCII characters it takes to express it.

-- Mike Wasylik (, June 26, 2000.

Of course, the right thing to do is to use [ ] for the comment, so that this is not an issue (or, for those of us who find smiling a strugle - use ] for the smile). At the very least there should be a respectful 1-2 spaces after the smiley before the closing ')'. Trying to use the smile ')' to pseudo-balance the sentence is, IMHO, criminal.

-- James Ezick (, June 26, 2000.

Well, I actually get around this by using 'beard-enabled' smilies -- 8^)=, for example -- but I realize that this probably isn't a universal solution...

-- john s j anderson (, June 26, 2000.

. . . .and then there is the enigmatic ^_^ and variations thereof, which have the advantage of not requiring readers to twist their necks.


-- Leonard Grossman (, June 26, 2000.

I would have to agree with the use of the [ ] to enclose the perenthetical statement. Of course, since I have my hair in a flattop, I usually make my smileys look like this:


Which would look REALLY ugly!

[Yuck. I really don't like this. [:D] Makes my smiley look like it should have bolts in its neck, running around terrorizing the villagers.

-- Neil R. Hauser, esq. (, June 27, 2000.

The smile must be enclosed to give completion to the interjected thought. My biggest concern is why did i feel the need to give my opinion. Most messages with a smile within them are not formal enough to require proper punctuation anyway. Think i've been on this computer too long.

-- tim (, June 27, 2000.

Although I like to have my parenthetical comments logically bounded (i.e. their own designated '()' on either side), I really don't like the look of a loose ')' following the one in a smiley face. So, each time I put a smiley face inside a parenthetical comment I struggle with what to do. I usually end up adding a final ')' with several spaces between it and the preceding smiley (as Mr. Ezick suggests) - but I try to leave out the smiley face where possible to avoid this dilemma in the first place!

-- Susannah Hobbs (, June 27, 2000.

The parenthesis on a smiley doesn't close a parenthetical thought, or I couldn't use it here :-). So if I have actual parentheses, they need to be closed properly, smiley or no smiley.

But I don't actually use smileys very often.

-- Vicki Rosenzweig (, June 27, 2000.

just for the record: it is *so* wrong to close with the ) from a smiley i have an ulcer caused by people who do it.

-- beth (, June 27, 2000.

It's _entirely_ wrong to use the parenthesis from a smiley to close a parenthetical statement. The ')' in a smiley is not a parenthesis, it is a mouth.

Your poll didn't allow for the answer I use, though. When I am in a parenthetical and I wish to use a smiley, I rewrite or add text to whatever I am saying so that the smiley doesn't come last, or so that the bit with the smiley is no longer in a parenthetical. The solution of having putting spaces between the mouth and the closing parenthesis is acceptable, but I prefer to take it as a sign that my sentence is getting too hard to follow.

Another alternative is to substitute *grin* for the smiley.

Tangentially, I notice that if you use a non-nose smiley, it looks even worse to pretend the mouth is a parenthesis. Compare:

(blah blah blah :-) (blah blah blah :)

-- Amanda Holland-Minkley (, June 27, 2000.

A previous poster is absolutely right in pointing out that the final ) in :-) is a mouth. I prefer to think of the opening parenthesis as also being a mouth, making the argument for balance much more plausible.

-- Mo (, June 29, 2000.

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