Q. I’m currently copyediting a chapter in a contributed volume, where one of the authors quotes as follows: “that no purely third-person, theoretical proposal or model would suffice to overcome” “the conceptual gap between subjective experience and the brain.” My question concerns the closing double quotations marks and the opening double quotations marks that are placed next to each other. I think this looks rather clumsy. Could I put ellipsis points between two quotes if the latter quote actually comes before the first quote in the original source, as is the case here? Or should ellipsis points only be used if the original order of the quoted parts is retained?
A. Ellipsis points are an option only when quotes are in the correct order and fairly near each other. Putting even a little text between the two quotes would help: “that no purely third-person, theoretical proposal or model would suffice to overcome” the “conceptual gap between subjective experience and the brain.” But it might be best to completely reword or to paraphrase one of the quotes.