Juliet did not say “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore [is he] Romeo?” So why do so many people deface quotes with brackets? 

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[He] know[s] what [he is] thinking: Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell [him] the truth, in all this excitement, [he has] kinda lost track [himself]. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow [his] head clean off, [he has] got to ask [himself] one question: [Does he] feel lucky? Well, [does he], punk?

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”
The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”
The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

The Associated Press Stylebook tells people not to use brackets at all because they “cannot be transmitted over news wires.” But the AP also discourages the use of parentheses to do the job of brackets: “In general, avoid using parenthetical clarifications in quoted material. If such a clarification is needed, it’s almost always better to paraphrase.”

Yes, wrong. Most language choices are a matter of people or publications finding the style and idiom that are most suitable for their own purposes. But this is the other kind of choice: a fussy act of overcorrection, for the sake of some imagined nitpicking reader: “Corky” is in the third person; “my” would be in the first person—what if someone should notice they don’t match, and complain?
If the changes are not obvious, don’t use the quote; if they’re not necessary, don’t use the brackets. The goal is to present the quotation as directly as possible. The quotation marks take care of that! Otherwise you look shifty, or confusing, or just plain weird.

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