If I wanted to cite a question in MLA, but use it as a statement, how would I change the punctuation?

For example, would I change the sentence

Does it not occur to you that this is the first time we two, you and I, husband and wife, have had a serious conversation?


...this is the first time, we two, you and I, husband and wife, have had a serious conversation[.]

  • 2
    I would not do that at all. At least not without explaining that it was a question in the original and that (for some reason) you're quoting it as a statement. While you can silently correct minor typos, you can't silently change the meaning of a quote in this way. Without an explanation, even this slight level of reinterpretation could be considered plagiarism. Nov 24, 2018 at 4:36
  • See my comment at the answer by Laurel below.
    – Kris
    Nov 24, 2018 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


MLA says the following on quotes:

Unless indicated in square brackets or parentheses, changes must not be made in the spelling, capitalization, or interior punctuation of the source.

The terminal question mark is external punctuation, so you don't need to indicate that it's missing.

At the end of a sentence ending with something in double quotes, you don't need to indicate that you're adding a period, even though you're doing so inside the quotes. See here for more info.

  • What is the necessity or significance of the period? Does it not distort the implication?
    – Kris
    Nov 24, 2018 at 8:14

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