MLA Endnotes and Footnotes
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
Contributors: Tony Russell, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Russell Keck, Joshua M. Paiz, Michelle Campbell, Rodrigo Rodríguez-Fuentes, Daniel P. Kenzie, Susan Wegener, Maryam Ghafoor, Purdue OWL Staff
Last Edited: 2018-01-16 01:42:04
Because long explanatory notes can be distracting to readers, most academic style guidelines (including MLA and APA, the American Psychological Association) recommend limited use of endnotes/footnotes; however, certain publishers encourage or require note references in lieu of parenthetical references.
MLA discourages extensive use of explanatory or digressive notes. MLA style does, however, allow you to use endnotes or footnotes for bibliographic notes, which refer to other publications your readers may consult. The following are some examples:
1. See Blackmur, especially chapters 3 and 4, for an insightful analysis of this trend.
2. On the problems related to repressed memory recovery, see Wollens 120-35; for a contrasting view, see Pyle 43; Johnson, Hull, Snyder 21-35; Krieg 78-91.
3. Several other studies point to this same conclusion. See Johnson and Hull 45-79, Kather 23-31, Krieg 50-57.
Or, you can also use endnotes/footnotes for occasional explanatory notes (also known as content notes), which refers to brief additional information that might be too digressive for the main text:
4. In a 1998 interview, she reiterated this point even more strongly: "I am an artist, not a politician!" (Weller 124).
Numbering endnotes and footnotes in the document body
Endnotes and footnotes in MLA format are indicated in-text by superscript arabic numbers after the punctuation of the phrase or clause to which the note refers:
Some have argued that such an investigation would be fruitless.6
Scholars have argued for years that this claim has no basis,7 so we would do well to ignore it.
Note that when a long dash appears in the text, the footnote/endnote number appears before the dash:
For years, scholars have failed to address this point8—a fact that suggests their cowardice more than their carelessness.
Do not use asterisks (*), angle brackets (>), or other symbols for note references. The list of endnotes and footnotes (either of which, for papers submitted for publication, should be listed on a separate page, as indicated below) should correspond to the note references in the text.
Formatting endnotes and footnotes
MLA recommends that all notes be listed on a separate page entitled Notes (centered, no formatting). Use Note if there is only one note. The Notes page should appear before the Works Cited page. This is especially important for papers being submitted for publication.
The notes themselves should be listed by consecutive arabic numbers that correspond to the notation in the text. Notes are double-spaced. The first line of each endnote is indented five spaces; subsequent lines are flush with the left margin. Place a period and a space after each endnote number. Provide the appropriate note after the space.
Footnotes (below the text body)
The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook does not specify how to format footnotes. See the MLA Style Center for additional guidance on this topic and follow your instructor's or editor's preferences.
Chicago/Turabian Basics: Footnotes
Why We Use Footnotes
The style of Chicago/Turabian we use requires footnotes rather than in-text or parenthetical citations. Footnotes or endnotes acknowledge which parts of their paper reference particular sources. Generally, you want to provide the author’s name, publication title, publication information, date of publication, and page number(s) if it is the first time the source is being used. Any additional usage, simply use the author’s last name, publication title, and date of publication.
Footnotes should match with a superscript number at the end of the sentence referencing the source. You should begin with 1 and continue numerically throughout the paper. Do not start the order over on each page.
In the text:
Throughout the first half of the novel, Strether has grown increasingly open and at ease in Europe; this quotation demonstrates openness and ease.1
In the footnote:
1. Henry James, The Ambassadors (Rockville: Serenity, 2009), 34-40.
When citing a source more than once, use a shortened version of the footnote.
2. James, The Ambassadors, 14.
Citing sources with more than one author
If there are two or three authors of the source, include their full names in the order they appear on the source. If there are more than three authors, list only the first author followed by “et al.” You should list all the authors in the bibliography.
John K. Smith, Tim Sampson, and Alex J. Hubbard, Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010), 65.
John K. Smith, Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010), 65.
Citing sources with other contributor information
You may want to include other contributor information in your footnotes such as editor, translator, or compiler. If there is more than one of any given contributor, include their full names in the order they appear on the source.
John Smith, Example Book, trans. Bill McCoy and Tim Thomas (New York: Random House, 2000), 15.
John Smith, Example Book, ed. Tim Thomas (New York: Random House, 1995), 19.
If the contributor is taking place of the author, use their full name instead of the author’s and provide their contribution.
John Smith, trans., Example Book (New York: Random House, 1992), 25.
Citing sources with no author
It may not be possible to find the author/contributor information; some sources may not even have an author or contributor- for instance, when you cite some websites. Simply omit the unknown information and continue with the footnote as usual.
Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010), 65.
Citing a part of a work
When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page or section identifier. This can include specific pages, sections, or volumes. If page numbers cannot be referenced, simply exclude them. Below are different templates:
Webster’s Dictionary, vol. 4 (Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1995).
Part of a multivolume work:
John Smith, ed., “Anthology,” in Webster’s Dictionary, ed. John Smith, vol 2. of Webster’s Dictionaries (Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1995).
Chapter in a book:
Garrett P. Serviss, “A Trip of Terror,” in A Columbus of Space (New York: Appleton, 1911), 17-32.
Introduction, afterword, foreword, or preface:
Scott R Sanders, introduction to Tounchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to Present, ed. Lex Williford and Michael Martone (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), x-xii.
Article in a periodical:
William G. Jacoby, “Public Attitudes Toward Public Spending,” American Journal of Political Science 38, no. 2 (May 1994): 336-61.
Citing group or corporate authors
In your footnotes, cite a corporate author like you would a normal author.
American Medical Association, Journal of the American Medical Association: 12-43.
Citing an entire source
When citing an entire work, there are no specific page numbers to refer to. Therefore, simply exclude the page numbers from the footnote.
John K. Smith, Example Book (New York: Scholastic, 2010).
Citing indirect sources
When an original source is unavailable, then cite the secondhand source – for instance, a lecture in a conference proceedings. If using an unpublished address, cite only in the paper/writing. If using a published address, use a footnote with the following format.
Paula Abdul mentioned in her interview on Nightline…
Zouk Mosbeh, “Localization and the Training of Linguistic Mediators for the Third Millennium,” Paper presented at The Challenges of Translation & Interpretation in the Third Millennium, Lebanon, May 17, 2002.
Citing the Bible
The title of books in the Bible should be abbreviated. Chapter and verses should be separated by a colon. You should include the version you are referencing.
Prov. 3:5-10 AV.
Citing online sources
Generally, follow the same principals of footnotes to cite online sources. Refer to the author if possible and include the URL.
Henry James, The Ambassadors (Rockville: Serenity: 2009), http://books.google.com.
Bhakti Satalkar, “Water Aerobics,” http://www.buzzle.com, (July 15, 2010).
Citing online sources with no author
If there is no author, use either the article or website title to begin the citation. Be sure to use quotes for article titles and include the URL.
“Bad Strategy: At E3, Microsoft and Sony Put Nintendo on the Defense,” BNET, www.cbsnews.com/moneywatch, (June 14, 2010)