While I was reading the newspaper today I stumbled against something that is quite common and a bit obscure in writing in spanish.

It comes from this opinion column. (The opinion and debate exposed is irrelevant to the question)

And this is the fragment:

Lo que hice con el concepto que él introdujo abrió infinitos escenarios de duda y debate. Humildemente le sugiero: si usted quiere dar una clase en la que la crítica, la duda y el debate sean los protagonistas, (haga) que su eje transversal no sea saber hacer un resumen. ¿Qué le puedo preguntar a un resumen? Con esto (no) quiero decir que no sea fundamental para un editor escribir bien y manejar la economía de medios, pero creo que sus críticas deberían ser más coherentes con el tipo de contenidos que ofrece en su clase.

What I want to know is the (haga) and (no). I understand what they want to expose and to make the reader understand. But I don't know how is this form officially called in spanish grammar.

If it comes from multiple sources and the RAE I'd be delighted. But it's not mandatory.


  • 5
    I think those are just changes to the original post in order to clarify the meaning. They are in parenthesis to mark that they where added afterwards. It is very common when transcribing spoken speechs.
    – J. Calleja
    Dec 14, 2011 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


Those are simply refer to as adiciones (additions); the DPD recommends (under corchete) the use of square brackets to perform such additions:

c) En la transcripción de un texto, se emplean para marcar cualquier interpolación o modificación en el texto original, como aclaraciones, adiciones, enmiendas o el desarrollo de abreviaturas: Hay otros [templos] de esta misma época de los que no se conserva prácticamente nada;[...]

  • Yes I was going to comment that the same is done in English but I thought square brackets were usually used. Dec 16, 2011 at 12:22
  • Thanks Gonzalo, but those are corchetes... on the article they are parentheses. Or is it a mistake of the article??
    – Jose Luis
    Dec 16, 2011 at 12:47
  • @Joze: the quote I included answers your question: the RAE recommends the use of square brackets for any kind of addition or modification to the original text; in practice, however, parentheses are commonly used instead. Dec 16, 2011 at 13:03
  • AFAIK, square brackets are commonly used by additions done by the editor into a transcripted text (in other words, they are not added by the original author but another person). The parantheses are used by additions done by the writter/speecher in his own text. Mar 4, 2012 at 8:27

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