Is there a way to avoid back-to-back parentheses when a block quotation ends with a parenthetical and the quotation is followed by a parenthetical reference?

The best way to avoid multiple punctuation is to rewrite if possible.

Let’s say you are citing the passage from an e-book without stable pagination. Instead of listing the name of the e-book’s author in a parenthetical reference, you could provide it in your prose. No parenthetical reference would be needed after the passage because there are no stable page numbers to include:

In Sigrid Nunez’s novel The Friend, the narrator explains the difficulty of trying to keep a large dog in an apartment building that does not allow dogs:

Needless to say, there was no possibility of keeping this dog hidden. I walk him several times a day. He has become a neighborhood wonder. So far no one who lives in the building has complained, though no few startled at first sight of him, some even timidly backing away, and after one woman refused to squeeze into the small elevator with us, I decided we should always take the stairs. (Galumphing down the five flights he is a comical sight, the only time he ever looks ungraceful.) 

Work Cited

Nunez, Sigrid. The Friend. E-book, Riverhead Books, 2018.

If, however, you are citing the print edition and thus need to provide the page number, you should provide it in parentheses after the passage, since in MLA style, page numbers are not generally provided in prose:

In Sigrid Nunez’s novel The Friend, the narrator explains the difficulty of trying to keep a large dog in an apartment building that does not allow dogs:

Needless to say, there was no possibility of keeping this dog hidden. I walk him several times a day. He has become a neighborhood wonder. So far no one who lives in the building has complained, though no few startled at first sight of him, some even timidly backing away, and after one woman refused to squeeze into the small elevator with us, I decided we should always take the stairs. (Galumphing down the five flights he is a comical sight, the only time he ever looks ungraceful.) (44)

Work Cited

Nunez, Sigrid. The Friend. E-book, Riverhead Books, 2018.

Read more on eliminating back-to-back parentheses.

Published 13 March 2020

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