Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there a particular reason why you need to use the shift key to type a parenthesis - ( or ) - whereas you do not for a square bracket - [ or ], on a standard QWERTY keyboard? The parenthesis is a much more common symbol in writing (and probably programming, too). Is it some kind of historical thing?

share|improve this question
    
If it really bugs you, then you could modify your key mappings, keep in mind that you will drive anyone else using your keyboard insane. –  Zoredache Nov 16 '11 at 21:28
    
@Zoredache it doesn't bug me, I was just interested from an "interface" perspective why it was the case. Inexplicably everyone else decided this factual question was "likely to solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion". –  DisgruntledGoat Nov 16 '11 at 23:35
add comment

closed as not constructive by slhck, Nifle, Linker3000, random Nov 16 '11 at 20:53

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's historical. Typewriters had the parentheses as Shift-9 and Shift-8 for decades before computers. There were no square bracket keys (there also wasn't a key for the number 1 on most keyboards -- use used a lower-case "L"). When computer keyboards were invented, they copied typewriters so as not to require keypunchers to learn a new system.

Later, the bracket keys were added.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the answer! Somehow I forgot typewriters originally used the keyboard we have now. –  DisgruntledGoat Nov 16 '11 at 23:37
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.