Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files within 24 hours. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More


Question about these things: { }

We always used to call these { } “wavy brackets.” Are they ever legitimately used in non-mathematical writing as, say, within-a-sentence punctuation?

Submit Your Comment



Sort by  OldestLatestRating

They're generally called "braces" (brackets are [these things]). Checking the Chicago Manual, I see only mathematic uses for them.

They're also used in programming a lot, fwiw.

Adam Rice March 9, 2004, 2:01pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Hmmm. I think "wavy brackets" is the Southern U.S. vernacular. :)

speedwell2 March 10, 2004, 3:20am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I've seen them used (rarely) to distinguish nesting levels in intricately parenthesised sentences (like {to put forward a hypothetical example} this). Though I can't say I've seen it more than a very limited number of times (I think there's a few in R. Hume's Treatises, but he also uses extensive footnoting, to the point there's a few pages with a few lines of body text and mostly footnote text).

Ingvar March 21, 2004, 7:23pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I've almost always heard them called curly braces or curly brackets.

Abby March 27, 2004, 12:24pm

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Yes, they are called braces. And you can generally disregard them, because an extra set of parenthesis tend to work fine if you need to double enclose something.

Adam is right. They're used a LOT in programming.

Ryan Huddleston March 28, 2004, 11:15am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

in the MIT Bookstore's letter is a use of braces, to let the smiley stand out I guess.

Matt April 3, 2004, 10:44am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

I call them "wavy gravy, " but then I also call hamburgers "Steamed Hams."

Furthermore, the Northern Lights sometimes appear locallized in my kitchen.

Seymour Skinner August 6, 2004, 9:39am

0 vote    Permalink    Report Abuse

Yes     No