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If I repeatedly use a quotation from the same source, do I need to use quotation marks each time?

You should generally use quotation marks if you repeat a quotation from the same source, but you may omit quotation marks when referring back to a concept or method (e.g., distant reading) mentioned in the source:

Moretti takes issue with this tendency to regard literature at any level as “a world” complete and classifiable rather than one in production and changing unevenly. Ironically, coming from someone obviously given to spatial diagrams of literary phenomena, “distant reading” adheres to the principle that “spatial proximity never turns into functional interaction” (14). Moretti won’t let us construe the distance implied by distant reading in opposition to the closeness and polysemy of literary language.

Published 2 November 2018

How do I eliminate back-to-back parentheses in a sentence?

To eliminate back-to-back parentheses in a sentence, you should generally reword:  

Original: 
The General Franco Institute published the most important Spanish colonial work on Andalusi music, Patrocinio García Barriuso’s La música hispano-musulmana en Marruecos (“Hispano-Muslim Music in Morocco”) (1941).
Revised:
In 1941, the General Franco Institute published the most important Spanish colonial work on Andalusi music, Patrocinio García Barriuso’s La música hispano-musulmana en Marruecos (“Hispano-Muslim Music in Morocco”).

In some cases, you can combine information in one set of parentheses and separate the items with a semicolon:

Original:
In N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn,

Published 31 October 2018

Does MLA style allow the use of slashed terms?

The slash is rarely necessary in formal prose. It mainly appears when two terms are paired as opposites or alternatives and used together as a noun:

The writer discussed how fundamental oppositions like good/evil or East/West affect the way cultures view historical events.

When two terms paired as opposites precede and modify a noun, use a hyphen:

nature-nurture conflict
East-West relations

In other cases, you can rewrite to avoid a slash. For example, you can replace the slash in “political/economic factors” with and or or, depending on the intended sense:

 political or economic factors

or

political and economic factors

You can rewrite “political and/or economic factors” as follows:

factors that are political or economic or both

Published 29 October 2018

If I cite a work that has no page numbers and I give the author’s name at the beginning of my sentence, how does the reader know where the author’s idea ends, since there is no parenthetical citation?

As the MLA Handbook notes, when you borrow an idea from a source, “it is important to signal at the end . . . that you are switching to another source or to your own ideas” (126). A parenthetical citation is just one way to indicate this switch. You may also use prose, as in the following example:

Original:
Terry Eagleton argues that The Communist Manifesto is more relevant today than it was in 1848, when it was published. The language of class warfare permeates twenty-first-century discourse.

Revised:
Terry Eagleton argues that The Communist Manifesto is more relevant today than it was in 1848,

Published 2 October 2018

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