why do journalists and authors often put brackets around words in seemingly strange parts of sentences?

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For example, a sentence I just read went as follows:

> “‘I don’t think [the book] had anything to do with his arrest and neither does Anne Marie Schubert,’ he says.”—(Excerpt from the appendix of ‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ by Michelle McNamara)


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Anonymous 0 Comments

If the sentence would be hard to understand exactly as written or said, the brackets indicate that a substitution has been made.

“He said that it was a crime against humanity” would be obscure if you didn’t know that the antecedent of ‘it’ was putting ketchup on hot dogs.

“He said that [putting ketchup on hot dogs] was a crime against humanity.”

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