Pronunciation: /pəˈrɛn θə sɪs/ Explain

-- plural is parentheses

Parentheses are marks used to group operations.[1]

Parentheses are always used in pairs. The left parenthesis looks like: (. The right parenthesis looks like: ).

The parentheses are used to group operations in math. For example, the expression 5·4+2 evaluates to 22. Using the order of operations, we first multiply 5 and 4 to get 20, and then add 2 to get 22.

However, if we use parentheses to write the expression as 5·(4+2), the value of the expression changes. The parenthesis tells us to add 4 to 2 before multiplying by 5. Adding 4 and 2 gives us 6. When we then multiply by 5 we get 30.


  1. Keigwin, H. W.. Principles of Elementary Algebra. pg 4. Ginn & Company. 1886. Last Accessed 1/12/2010. Buy the book
  2. Bettinger, Alvin K. and Englund, John A.. Algebra and Trigonometry. pg 17-18. International Textbook Company. January 1963. Last Accessed 1/12/2010. Buy the book

More Information

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Parenthesis. 5/5/2011. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC.

Revision History

12/23/2009: Added "References". (McAdams, David E.)
9/2/2008: Added 'More Information'. (McAdams, David E.)
7/12/2007: Initial version. (McAdams, David E.)

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