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Your Burning Grammar Question Answered…

October 5, 2011

Here’s the official word on end puncutation for direct quotes when using parenthetical reference at the end of a sentence.

The question that came up in class yesterday was what if you are using parenthetical citation and you need to quote something that ends with a question mark or exclamation point?

If the question mark or exclamation point is PART OF THE QUOTE, they should appear inside the quotation marks and then you should put a period after the parenthetcal citation.  If it’s not part of the original quote, you’ll mark the end of the quote with quotation marks, list your parenthetical citation and then finish the sentnece with a question mark or exclamation point.

Get it?

So, in these rare cases (only when you are using parenthetial citation at the end of sentences for an MLA style paper) you will have what’s called “double end punctuation” which is normally a no-no, but in this case, it’s appropriate.

Examples:

Is it possible that dreams may express “profound aspects of personality” (Foulkes 184)?

In the first scene, the doctor asks Blathers if he wants a drink: “What shall it be?” (Fitzgerald 274).

Now you know!

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