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    #1

    Parenthesis

    Hi, there,

    I am learning parenthesis now and finding that sometimes it is not easy to distinguish it from a modifier. Please read a sentence taken from New York Times as below.

    The Hmong believe that souls, like errant children, are capable of wandering off or being captured by malevolent spirits, causing illness. Mr. Lee’s ceremony for the diabetic man was a spiritual inoculation, meant to protect his soul from being kidnapped by his late wife and thus extending his “life visa.”

    I think the bolded part is a parenthesis, partly because it's helping readers understand the connotation of "ceremony" and "inoculation" and partly on there is a comma before the phrase.

    But my teacher persists that it is a modifer to describe "ceremony" , because he thinks if parenthesis is removed from a sentence, the sentence is still grammatically sound.

    Could you please tell me whether I am wrong and why? Looking forward to your help. Thanks.

    LQZ

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    #2

    Re: Parenthesis

    Looking for a comma will not lead you to the right answer in many cases- parenthesis separates a word or phrase from the rest of the sentence, so, as with brackets, the punctuation comes at the start and the end, unless the sentence ends at the same point. 'Like errant children' in the first sentence is an example. It's used to add an explanation, comment, opinion, etc, but in your case it's something more than that, defining and filling in background details.

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Parenthesis

    My two cents.

    Here is the sentence (without the comma):
    .
    Mr. Lee’s ceremony for the diabetic man was a spiritual inoculation meant to protect his soul from being kidnapped by his late wife and thus extending his “life visa.”
    .
    I have boldened what I consider the relevant phrase (object of the sentence). Can you take that phrase out and the sentence still be grammatical. I think not.



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    #4

    Re: Parenthesis

    Thank you for both of your interpretations, it seems I was wrong. Now I have another question about parenthesis.

    Hollywood also faces competition from illegally copied movies, a major issue to theMotion Picture Association of America. The trade group estimated more than eighteen billion dollars in worldwide losses from piracy in two thousand five.

    I thought the bold part was a parenthesis also, now I have changed my mind. But I am still confused whether it is a modifier or an apposition.Could you give me a hand?

    Thanks.

    LQZ

  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Parenthesis

    Re:
    .
    Hollywood also faces competition from illegally copied movies, a major issue to the Motion Picture Association of America.
    The phrase in bold provides additional information, modifying illegally copied movies.




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