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When to Use Parathesis in Creative Writing

Parathesis is one of the four classical modal verbs or modes in English. It is generally used to express a sequence of events, states, or actions that are associated with a greater or lesser degree of contingency.

Usually, the events described by means of the verb are treated as contingent, or dependent on chance or other outside factors. Thus, there is a sense of uncertainty about whether the events will occur or not. When this happens, it is usual to use the modal to indicate this uncertainty. For example, if you are using the verb to describe an event that is considered likely, you may use the preposition ‘likely’ in your sentence to make this assumption clear.

Using Parathesis In Creative Writing

Although the basic meaning of parathesis has not substantially changed since the sixteenth century, its use within creative writing has changed quite a bit. Up until the early twentieth century, English writers used the mode as a way to indicate a sequence of events as a whole. However, after the publication of H. W. Janson’s 1919 book The Modern English Handbook, writers started to use parathesis as a way of characterizing the speaker’s opinion or perspective on an event or situation.

For example, if an author wants to describe an unusual sequence of events that happened to a particular character, he might use parathesis to indicate that these events were not actually contingent on chance but were, rather, character traits that the author presents as somehow inherent or ‘natural’ to the character.

If you are writing a novel, it is generally a good idea to give your main character a name that starts with ‘P,’ since it is the most used letter in the English language. This will make it easy for you to find resources or information about this character once you start writing. It also sets the stage for you to use parathesis when describing his or her actions and reactions. So, let’s say that your character, Pete, is determined to finally take a vacation after years of working hard. Unfortunately, things do not work out exactly as Pete planned, and he ends up in jail. While in jail, Pete meets another inmate named Paul, who convinces him to join a gang and help them smuggle alcohol during a prison riot. Pete reluctantly agrees to help, and as a result, he gets a reputation for being a tough guy around town. This in turn makes him the target of the very people he was trying to avoid all along.

This is the kind of thing that could happen in real life, and the author uses parathesis to indicate that this was, in fact, what happened. If you want to show the reader that Pete’s determination to take a vacation and not worry about work cost him dear, you could use the tense ‘would’ in your sentence to make this point: “Pete would work hard all week, hoping to get some extra hours so that he could finally take a vacation. Unfortunately, he would end up in jail, where he would meet another prisoner named Paul. Paul would convince Pete to help him smuggle alcohol during a prison riot, and this in turn would lead to Pete getting in trouble with the law.”

Another possible use of parathesis is when you want to stress a word or phrase in your narrative to make it stand out and attract the reader’s attention. You can do this by using a different font or typeface for the word or phrase. For example, if you want to indicate that a certain action was particularly gruesome or shocking, you could use the adverb ‘gruesome’ or ‘shocking,’ followed by a parenthetical expression to explain what kind of action this is: “The gruesome (shocking) discovery of the police officer’s severed head on the street corner was a particularly shocking (gruesome) moment.”

Types Of Events That Can Be Treated With Parathesis

Although the general idea behind the classical modal verb is to indicate that something is not actually contingent on chance, it does not mean that the events described are necessarily positive or upbeat in nature. In fact, depending on the circumstances and the situation of the character(s) at the time, the events may turn out to be rather unfortunate. In these cases, using parathesis may be the best option available to the writer.

Chance Versus Numerical Predictability

When we make assumptions about the likelihood of certain events happening or not, we are, in fact, making a statement about how we think the world works. There is a difference between assuming that a particular event will happen and claiming that it is ‘most likely’ to happen. The first one is a statement of fact, while the second one is a statement of opinion. If you want to use parathesis to indicate that you are submitting an opinion, you should avoid using the word ‘likely,’ since this implies that you are assuming chance plays a role in that particular outcome and may, in fact, be completely erroneous. If you want to use the verb when describing an event that you consider likely, you should use the preposition ‘to,’ which can be followed by ‘likely’ to make this assumption clear.

Choosing a title for your novel is, in itself, a creative act. You can never be too sure what a reader will think of your work, so it is a good idea to leave room for interpretation. Some writers use the names of historical and literary figures as a way of alluding to elements of their work. For example, in Orson Scott Card’s The Lost Boys, the main character, Peter, is named after the author’s father, Pete. The use of the ‘Peter’ prefix in the character’s name makes a definite connection to the author’s previous works, especially 1981’s The Lost Boys, in which the same character is prominently featured.

If you choose to do this, it is a good idea to use the preposition ‘of’ before the historical or literary figure’s name to avoid any possible confusion. So, if you are using parathesis to describe some character’s or story’s central theme, you can use the preposition ‘of’ to make it clear this is what you are referring to: “The main theme of Peter’s story is his quest for identity. During the course of the story, he repeatedly asks himself the age-old question — ‘Who am I?’ — as he struggles to understand the relationship between himself and the people around him. Throughout the novel, Peter is plagued by this question and does not feel that he truly belongs anywhere. This, in turn, motivates him to continually look for a place where he can fit in and be accepted. This desire to belong makes him vulnerable, and, at times, even seem a little cowardly. As he sees it, having a police officer as a father does not make him more of a man than having a teacher as a father. It simply makes him more like a schoolboy who wants to please his father by becoming a policeman.

The use of the term ‘schoolboy’ is, in fact, quite fitting in this case. Peter’s story, which mostly takes place in New York City, is, in many ways, a coming of age story. He is, after all, a young man who has just turned twenty and who, at times, acts rather childishly like a pupil in a class. To use a less pejorative term, Peter’s journey from a lost boy to a responsible adult is quite the odyssey.

If you are wondering where your novel is going, it might be a good idea to use the verb ‘going’ in the preposition ‘to’ followed by a parenthetical expression to show the reader what is, in fact, happening. This technique was first used by William Shakespeare in ‘Twelfth Night’ (published in 1601). The play is set in the fictional town of Illyria, which is presumably based on Venice. In the first scene, we meet Olivia, who is disguised as a boy. She tells the servant Malvolio that she is fleeing the “fury and rashness” of the court, where she had to defend herself against false charges. In the next scene, Olivia reveals her true identity, and Malvolio starts acting very strangely and accusing her of being a female. In this case, if you are using the preposition ‘to’ followed by a parenthetical expression, it is easy to see how the reader could get confused about what is actually happening: “It is going (to go) well for Olivia. She is fleeing (fury and rashness) of the court, where she had to defend herself against false charges. However, when she reveals her identity, Malvolio starts acting very strangely and accusing her of being a female. It is not entirely clear what is happening in this scene, and it is certainly not a masculine reaction.