A bracket is a punctuation mark used to set text apart within a larger body of text. Brackets come in pairs—an opening bracket and a closing bracket, and they can be round, curly, square or angled. There are many names for brackets. Parentheses (meaning, literally, ‘to put aside’) are also called round brackets, soft brackets or first brackets. Square brackets are also known as hard brackets or second brackets. Braces are curly, swirly, birdie, squiggly, fancy or twirly. Chevrons are pointy, angle, diamond or triangular. Whatever you like to call them, they have an important place in the world of punctuation. Parentheses, for example, have been used in written English since the 1500s and chevrons are used today in html markup.