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If I were to have a quote and there were a contraction in it, would I need to put brackets around the de-contracted word or can I just de-contract it.

For example: He said, "I'll go to the store tomorrow."

Would I de-contract it the first or second way in MLA format?

"[I will] go to the store tomorrow."

or

"I will go to the store tomorrow."

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to belong on Writers Stack Exchange: 'According to the closing of my question, it seems the Writers Stack Exchange is the proper place for questions about style guides and style usage.' Jun 26 '11 at 13:27 Ricket // My opinion is that specific requests for single-style-guide rulings do not address the language in an objective way. Nov 16, 2015 at 0:45

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I wouldn't de-contract it, as the contracted form is perfectly valid and understandable. But if I did expand out a contraction or acronym I would use [].

Note that if something was said in speech, the [] is not needed as it can validly be expanded as normal speech always leaves bits out (elides things) and we are not usually even aware of this. If the non-standard contraction is retained it is for effect. If a non-native speaker uses something in appropriate the choice is leave it (and mark it with sic) or replace it (and mark it with []) or rewrite it as an indirect quotation (and mark this by omitting the "").

"I wanna go to the store tomorrow".

in speech --> text for the first time "I want to go to the store tomorrow"

in text --> corrected text for MLA "I [want to] go to the store tomorrow" in text --> sicced text for MLA "I wanna (sic) go to the store tomorrow"

but the [] still seems a bit pedantic, and the (sic) a bit rude, to me personally.

I would either leave it or expand it without mark up if I had to have it as a quote, and if I had to have it, it means the form is important and I would leave it. Otherwise I would make it an indirect quote.

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  • Speaking of pedantic, MLA specifies that sic appear in [brackets] inside a quotation and in (parentheses) outside.
    – deadrat
    Nov 16, 2015 at 0:22
  • @deadrat Surely that is to distinguish sic's already in the quotes and reproduced from those added to the quotes on quoting (so both sorts could appear in the quote). Nov 16, 2015 at 0:48
  • @EdwinAshworth I had to stare at your comment for a long time before I understood it. At least, I think I finally understood it. Please tell me that reproduced doesn't go with from. But, no, I don't think the enclosers indicate who sicc'd which on whom.
    – deadrat
    Nov 16, 2015 at 1:11
  • Surely that is to distinguish {sic's already in the quotes and reproduced} from {those added to the quotes on quoting} (so both sorts could appear in the quote). Is the sic part of the quoted material, or has it been appended to the quote by the quoter. Nov 16, 2015 at 16:11

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