If I am quoting a question, and the quotation comes at the end of a sentence with a citation, where does the question mark go? I have been told that question marks (and full stops) should come after the brackets of the citation in Harvard Referencing. If the question mark does stay inside the quotation marks, then is there an additional full stop after the brackets? Which of the following three sentences are punctuated correctly?

(1) He asks: "what can the media do?” (Smith, 2003:168).

(2) He asks: "what can the media do?” (Smith, 2003:168)

(3) He asks: "what can the media do” (Smith, 2003:168)?

1 Answer 1


Independent of the Referencing system, your option (1) seems the most reasonable:

  1. you are quoting the question correctly and entirely, i.e. the text inside the double-quotes is exactly the text you wanted to quote.
  2. you are closing your sentence with a full-stop, and that is correct given that it is a statement and not a question
  3. you are closing your sentence with a full-stop, so that the reader knows that there is no further text belonging to this statement.

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