Chapter 7. How to Write Footnotes and Endnotes in MLA Style 6th ed.
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Links to related pages:
1. How to Format a Research Paper in MLA Style, 7th ed
2. How to Format a Research Paper in MLA Style, 6th ed
3. Quoting Passages Using MLA Style, 7th ed.
4. Quoting Passages Using MLA Style, 6th ed.
5. Content Notes and Bibliographic Notes in MLA Style, 7th ed
6. How to Write Footnotes and Endnotes in MLA Style, 6th ed.
7. Footnotes and Endnotes - Examples in MLA Style, 6th ed.
8. Footnotes in MLA Style, 6th ed. - Sample Page
9. Endnotes in MLA Style, 6th ed. - Sample Page
10. How to Write Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 7th ed.
11. How to Write Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 6th ed.
12. Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 7th ed. Sample Page
13. Parenthetical Documentation in MLA Style, 6th ed. Sample Page
14. Works Cited, References, and Bibliography: What's the Difference? MLA Style, 7th ed.
15. Works Cited, References, and Bibliography: What's the Difference? MLA Style, 6th ed.
16. Guidelines on Writing a Bibliography or Works Cited Page in MLA Style, 7th ed
17. Guidelines on Writing a Bibliography or Works Cited Page in MLA Style, 6th ed.
18. How to Write a Bibliography or Works Cited Page - Examples in MLA Style, 7th ed.
19. How to Write a Bibliography or Works Cited Page - Examples in MLA Style, 6th ed.
20. Works Cited in MLA Style, 7th ed. - Sample Page
21. Works Cited in MLA Style, 6th ed. - Sample Page
22. Research, Writing, and Style Guides (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard, CGOS, CBE)
For a detailed treatment on Using Notes with Parenthetical Documentation, please see Chapter 6.5 in:
For a detailed treatment on Endnotes and Footnotes, please see Appendix B.1 in:
Information relating to MLA style as presented here has been simplified and adapted from this authoritative publication from the Modern Language Association of America.
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003.
This Chapter deals only with simple and common examples on how to write Footnote and Endnote citations. To view examples, see Chapter 8. First Footnotes and Endnotes - Examples in MLA Style as well as Footnotes - Sample Page and Endnotes - Sample Page.
Footnotes and Endnotes are used to give credit to sources of any material borrowed, summarized or paraphrased. They are intended to refer readers to the exact pages of the works listed in the Works Cited, References, or Bibliography section.
The main difference between Footnotes and Endnotes is that Footnotes are placed numerically at the foot of the very same page where direct references are made, while Endnotes are placed numerically at the end of the essay on a separate page entitled Endnotes or Notes.
In the unlikely event that you are using a typewriter, a superscript number is typed half a space above the line after the last word of the citation, e.g., "The Information Superhighway is giving way to a Commercial Superhighway."1 If you are using a word processor, you can access the superscript function. To type a Footnote citation, the same superscript number is put at the beginning of the Footnote at the bottom of the same page where the citation occurs.
When mentioning a work for the first time, a full and complete Footnote or Endnote entry must be made.
NOTE: Only one sentence is used in a Footnote or Endnote citation, i.e., only one period or full stop is used at the end of any Footnote or Endnote citation. In a Bibliography, each citation consists of a minimum of three statements or sentences, hence each entry requires a minimum of three periods, e.g., a period after the author statement, a period after the title statement, and a period after the publication statement (publication/publisher/publication date).
First Footnote or Endnote example:
Use of ibid. and op. cit.:
Gibaldi (313) does NOT recommend the use of these old-fashioned abbreviations: ibid. (from the Latin ibidem meaning "in the same place") and op. cit. (from the Latin opere citato meaning "in the work cited.")
For Footnote or Endnote citations, if you should see the term ibid. being used, it just means that the citation is for the second mention of the same work with no intervening entries, i.e. exactly the same work cited as the one immediately above:
Or, if the identical work is cited, but with different page numbers:
More commonly, author and page number or numbers are now used instead of ibid., e.g.:
For second or later mention of the same work with intervening entries, where previously op. cit. was used, now only the author and page number or numbers are used:
Use of Superscript:
[Tab] or indent Footnote and Endnote entries 5 spaces from the left margin. Leave one space between the superscript number and the entry. Do not indent second and subsequent lines. Double-space between entries. Number Footnotes and Endnotes consecutively using a superscript, e.g., 7.
For Endnotes, you must use the same superscript number (as in your text) at the beginning of each Endnote in your Endnotes list. Start your list of Endnotes on a new page at the end of your essay. Remember to put the Endnotes page before the Bibliography, or Works Cited, or References page.
Examples of first Footnotes or Endnotes, subsequent Footnotes or Endnotes, and listings on Works Cited or References page:
Reference from the Bible, Catechism, or Sacred Texts:
Example in text:
Example of Footnote citation, long form:
Example of Footnote citation, short form:
Click here to see abbreviations of Books of the Bible
List under Works Cited:
The New Jerusalem Bible: Reader's Edition. New York: Doubleday, 1990.
Example in text:
the human race forms a unity, for 'from one ancestor [God] made all nations
to inhabit the whole earth.'"9
Example of a first Footnote or Endnote citation for the above quote from Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part I, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1, Paragraph 6I, Reference #360, Page 103, would be:
Subsequent citation of this same quote:
Citation of a different quote from the same book:
List under Works Cited:
Catechism of the Catholic Church. New York: Doubleday, 1994.
Examples of Footnote or Endnote citations for other sacred texts:
Do not confuse Footnote and Endnote citations with explanatory Notes that some authors refer to as "Endnotes." This type of "Endnotes" or "Notes" are not the same as bibliographical Footnote, Endnote or Parenthetical citations but are used to add comments, explanations, or additional information relating to specific passages in the text.
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There is a lot of terminology when it comes to citations and giving proper credit to sources. Three of the terms that sometimes get mixed up are footnotes, endnotes, and parenthetical citations. Each is different, as we will see below.
Footnotes vs. Endnotes
Both footnotes and endnotes are common writing tool features implemented when using various citation styles. They provide writers with a clear method in directing the reader to further information on the research topic and additional citations. Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, footnotes and endnotes have a few key differences.
The most obvious difference between footnotes and endnotes is the placement of each within a paper. Footnotes are found at the and endnotes are located at the or sometimes at the end of a chapter or section.
While the content in footnotes and endnotes can look the same, they serve different functions. Footnotes are used as a citation vehicle for a short citation, while endnotes can contain more text without compromising the format of the paper. They each also typically use a different numbering system, which allows the reader to determine where they should look for the additional information (either in the footer of the page, or at the end of the document).
APA format only uses parenthetical citations/reference list. MLA format can have footnotes and/or endnotes, but more commonly uses parenthetical citations and work cited. Chicago format almost always has footnotes or endnotes.
Both footnotes and endnotes tend to be supplemented by a bibliography or works cited page, which displays the complete citation of each source the writer cited in each footnote and endnote throughout their paper. Depending on the citation style, the footnote/endnote entry provides more specific location information than the entry in the bibliography. For instance, when citing a whole book in Chicago Manual of Style, the page number of the cited information is contained in the footnote, whereas this localized information is omitted from that source’s entry in the bibliography.
Footnote Entry Example:
F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise (New York: Scribner, 1920), 25.
Bibliography Entry Example:
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. This Side of Paradise. New York: Scribner, 1920.
Parenthetical Citations are citation tools commonly used inAPA and format MLA format. They usually contain the cited works author’s name, and an additional piece of information that further describes the source, usually the publication date of the source or the page number where the cited material can be located within the source.
Parenthetical Citations are used directly following the quote or cited material written in the document. Typically, they come at the end of the sentence that contains the cited material. They let the reader know when the author is using information or words that are not their own. While they demonstrate that a citation is being made, they should not be treated as a substitute for quotation marks when an author’s words are being presented exactly. They should also be included even when paraphrasing someone else’s work.
Each parenthetical citation made in a document should correspond to an entry in a works cited page or reference list at the end of the document. The entry in the works cited or reference list provides further detail about the source being cited.
Parenthetical Citation Example:
Reference List Entry Example:
James, Henry. (2009). The ambassadors. Rockville, MD: Serenity Publishers.
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