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I want to insert a parenthetical phrase into a quotation as an editorial note. Since such notes are surrounded by square brackets to differentiate them from the original quote, I end up with this:

“All reasonings concerning matter of fact [(i.e., all objects of human reason or enquiry other than relations of ideas)] seem to be founded on the relation of Cause and Effect” (Hume 16).

This syntax looks silly, but is it correct?

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    Yes, this is a tricky one. Doubtless some style guide will say that the square brackets (which are absolutely necessary to show that you've adjusted the quote) fulfil both roles here, but I'd be tempted to add the brackets (parentheses as you call them) to show exactly what I wish to add. But essentially, this is going to be a style choice. If the style guide you're using doesn't address this directly, contact the authors. – Edwin Ashworth May 8 '18 at 18:22
  • It depends on your style guide (written or assumed) and your style goals. – Hot Licks May 8 '18 at 20:57
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Leave out the round brackets. Single square brackets already advise the reader that the normal flow of the quotation is being interrupted by an editorial note. The added round brackets are redundant. Stylistically speaking, they will cause confusion. The reader will be unfamiliar with doubled brackets (excepting LISP programmers) and will have to stop reading, double back, and figure out what you were trying to do.

Another solution is a footnote:

“All reasonings concerning matter of fact* seem to be founded on the relation of Cause and Effect” (Hume 16).

* By matters of fact, Hume means all objects of human reason or enquiry other than relations of ideas.

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