Is it ever appropriate to use see or see also in a parenthetical citation?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
The purpose of every parenthetical citation is to tell the reader to see a work, so the word see would almost always be redundant. See also can be useful when you want to follow a source citation with a reference to a supplementary work. For example, the citation “(Bruchac 9; see also Laurent 290)” means that Bruchac is the source of the preceding borrowed material and that Laurent—although not a direct source—offers a relevant additional discussion.