Today's Lesson: Endangered Species
Parentheses: The text can be read with or without the text contained.
Example: "Have you ever been sent to school with the same old (empty) bag lunch?"
This means if you have gone to school with the old bag lunch, whether it is empty or not, you would say yes. You might clarify, but it is not necessary.
Spoken as: "Have you ever been sent to school with the same old--possibly empty--bag lunch?"
In other words, parentheses should almost never be used in dialogue--excluding reading aloud. They can be used in any written mode, but cannot be pronounced. There are ways to indicate parentheses if you are reading a quote, but to properly 'enunciate', one would need to say "Parentheses [blah blah blah] close parentheses."
It is also worth noting that some people use parentheses when they mean to use dashes. Dashes are these:--. These are both quite useful punctuation marks, but are different.
Begging the Question: Okay, let's start here, because I love that site. tl;dr: Begging the question is assuming something is true with no proof but the assertion of the statement.
Examples: "I think he's unattractive because he's ugly." (Any tautology fits here, really)
"I can't see why this is so hard. Anyone with a brain could figure it out." "Ah, but that's begging the question. You assume he has a brain."
Misestimated/Underestimated: Misestimate is to misjudge an estimation. Underestimate is specifically to estimate too low.
In explaining that the former is losing its use, I must point out that my spellcheck does not recognize it. I really think that's all I need to say on the point.
Examples: "I appear to have misestimated." "Over or under?" "I'm not sure..."
"You underestimated me."
Lay/Lie: I do this so much. Lay is to put/place. Lie is to recline.
Examples: "Chickens lay eggs."
"I'm going to lie down."
However, and here's the tricky part: "I lay my head down."
This actually has a fun meaning if used correctly: It can imply a feeling of separation from one's body.
Okay. How many grammatical errors did I make? Oh, and feel free to add any others that Just Bug You (TM) in the comments section.