Before I begin, I just want to mention that my first question is not a duplicate of Should the first word after a colon be capitalized? The accepted answer to the aforementioned query states that “[i]f you are starting a complete sentence that represents a summation of what came before, you are certainly entitled to capitalize the sentence.” Despite this, though, some people still argue against doing it this way.
I’m typing up an argumentative essay that was assigned in an English course. I’ve been having a really hard time trying to figure out the correct orthography for this sentence, however:
In this particular instance, she is referring specifically to moral nihilists: “‘morality’ is just part of a fairy tale we tell each other in order to keep our innate, bestial selfishness (mostly) under control. Belief in objective ‘oughts’ and ‘ought nots,’ they say, must fall away once we realize that there is no universal enforcer to dish out rewards and punishments in the afterlife.”
My first question is this: Should I capitalize the M, as it is (technically) the start of a new sentence, and refer to the change in punctuation with square brackets? Or should I instead leave it de-capitalized? Maybe I should use an ellipsis character prior to that? I’m not entirely sure, so I finally decided to just ask for feedback on here.
Another thing that I’m uncertain about is how to correctly indicate omitted text, specifically those words within the parentheses. I realize that words removed from quotes, for the purposes of making said quotes more succinct, are signified by ellipses, which makes complete sense. But I simply don’t know the “acceptable” syntax in dealing with this.
Ideally, the quote would be shortened to something like this:
“‘[M]orality’ is just part of a fairy tale we tell each other [in an effort] to keep our selfishness under control. Belief in objective ‘oughts’ and ‘ought nots’ must fall away once we realize that there is no universal enforcer to dish out rewards and punishments in the afterlife.” (Ellipses ignored.)
I will add in the ellipsis characters after I decide what to do. As you can see above, I am planning on removing some of the more superfluous text—particularly the “(mostly)”, as it’s kind of redundant if I'm being honest. So I’m wondering: Should I leave the parentheses and put the ellipsis within them, like ( . . . ), or should I omit the parentheses entirely?
I do understand that StackExchange prefers inquiries capable of being answered, but I am honestly doubtful that either of these has a definitive answer. So all I’m really asking for is somebody else’s input, based on their best judgement.
Thanks, in advance, for any comments or answers that you all give me. Anything at all will help!