Teaching Brackets in Writing

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Brackets are a type of punctuation that are used when using quotations in writing. This lesson plan supports teachers as they teach students about using brackets in writing.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify brackets.
  • Explain when to use brackets in writing.
  • Provide examples of the correct use of brackets in writing.


This lesson will take 60-120 minutes.


  • computer/internet/printer
  • copies of an autobiographical short story
  • magazines
  • newspapers

Curriculum Standards


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.


  • brackets
  • direct quotation

Lesson Instructions

To activate prior knowledge, display brackets. Ask students if they know what they are and when they are used. Explain that the lesson will help them correctly use brackets in writing.

Read the text lesson When & How to Use Brackets in Writing with students. Pause after the 'Brackets in Grammar' section to ask:

  • What are direct quotations?

Continue reading the lesson with students. Pause after the 'Examples of Brackets in Direct Quotation' section to ask:

  • How are brackets used to clarify information in a direct quotation?
  • How would you use brackets in the following sentence by Oprah Winfrey about her relationship with Stedman Graham:
    • 'If we had married, we would not be together,' explained Oprah Winfrey.

Read the remainder of the lesson with students. Ask:

  • When would you use ''sic '' in a quotation?
  • Why are brackets used in the following sentence from Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon : 'It's easy to make frends ''sic '' if you let pepul ''sic '' laff ''sic '' at you.'

Use the lesson's printable worksheet to check for understanding.

Brackets Scavenger Hunt

  • Students will search through old newspapers, magazines, and online interviews to find examples of brackets being used in writing.
  • Students will explain why brackets belong in each sentence.

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