Users are building up some advances searches.
Like ((A or B) and (C or D)) and F

What should I call (
Is that a paren or parenthesis?
I don't have a space issue.

As a programmer and mathematician it is a paren.
What is it to to a non technical user?

  • I ran two searches over at english.stackexchange.com - one for paren, and one for parenthesis. A few questions caught my eye as possibly being useful, though not directly answering your question. – Nicholas Pappas Oct 8 '14 at 18:23
  • The top result for each of the above searches where: "Parentheses or parenthesis", perhaps helping with singular and plural in your logic sentence. The other "How to read “E = (mc)²” so as not to mistake for “E = mc²”" has some good answers that show a diverse number of ways to read parens... or parenthesis. – Nicholas Pappas Oct 8 '14 at 18:24
  • @EvilClosetMonkey I do want singular and would use the spoken term quantity mc squared. Do you have an opinion on paren or parenthesis or ?? – paparazzo Oct 8 '14 at 18:29
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    would they be advance users if they use advanced searches? – Chairman Meow Oct 8 '14 at 18:43
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    @Blam There are lots of names for (, only AB testing can tell you which name is best for your audience. – Chairman Meow Oct 8 '14 at 18:50

Locale and dialects may have more of an influence than technical experience. When I studied Comp. Sci. here in Canada, we called "( )" brackets and "[ ]" square brackets.

I myself would call them parentheses (parenthesis singular) in any user documentation (paren being an abbreviation of that term), but I have no evidence to prove that this is any clearer or more used than any other term.

More important to non-technical users will be clear, concrete examples to help them understand and use the notation correctly. If you have clear examples, users will figure out any confusion they may have had with the terminology.

  • My question was not what to call them. What to call )? That is interesting you called it a bracket. My users are non technical professionals in the the US. – paparazzo Oct 8 '14 at 18:32
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    In the U.S., they are definitely parentheses rather than brackets. "Brackets" mean "square brackets" in U.S. parlance. "Parens" is slang, and I would avoid it unless your documentation is very informal in tone. Also non-technical people may not understand "parens". – user31143 Oct 9 '14 at 7:42

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