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

Brackets are used around words when the author is directly quoting but those words inside the brackets don’t appear in the quote. In the example you cite, instead of The words “the book” the direct quote may have contained something like the actual book title or some other way the person being quoted was referring to the book. In this context, brackets are a standard literary device used to indicate that the author is inserting words in a direct quote, but that insertion is not supposed to change the meaning in any way.

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