Note: Detailed Footnotes and Endnotes are needed only for sources cited for the first time. When citing the same work more than once, it is no longer fashionable to use ibid. or op. cit.; the current trend is to use the short title or the author’s last name instead. Indent the first line of a Footnote or Endnote entry. Second and subsequent lines are not indented. Double space between the lines. Treat each entry as one statement or sentence. Put a period at the end of each entry. For further details and more samples, seeFootnote Example, and Endnotes – Sample Page.Also, extra resources regarding MLA Footnote citation.
MLA Citation, by Definition
Technically speaking, the MLA citation format references the method created by the Modern Language Association (MLA). This particular method of documentation is widely used in English literature, educational studies, gender studies, humanities and other cultural studies.
Example of MLA Citation:
The rate of teenage pregnancy is shrinking because “society is becoming more open-minded to conventional birth control methods.” (Jones, 18)
Note that there are several things to take into consideration when it comes to MLA citation. Namely, does the material being cited have multiple authors? Or, was it taken from a website or a journal? Is it a source within a source? These are all elements that must be considered in order to determine which variation of the MLA format should be utilized.
What are Footnotes and Endnotes?
It is necessary to use MLA Endnotes and Footnotes each time sources from any material are used either in full or in part, in order to give credit to the original source. These citations are intended to guide readers to the correct pages in the Bibliography, Reference or Works Cited sections.
Footnote by definition: A footnote is an ancillary note added to the end of a page. Footnotes provide commentary or cite references on a specific portion of the text found in the body paragraphs of a paper. For example, if a writer decides to add an important fact or wants to comment on something stated in the paper, but that remark is irrelevant to the topic or thesis, they may decide to add a footnote. Typically, this would involve using an imbedded symbol to serve as a placeholder for the footnote at the conclusion of the sentence they are adding commentary for and then reprinting the symbol and their remark in the footnote.
The primary difference between a Footnote and an Endnote is the Footnotes are used numerically at the bottom of the page where the reference or commentary is made, whereas the Endnotes are listed numerically at the end of the essay, on a separate page titled Endnotes.
If you are mentioning a source for the first time, it is necessary to include a whole and complete Foot or Endnote. The practice of adding Endnotes or Footnotes is fairly fluid for almost every time of text, the exception being online media such as blogs and websites.
Adding Footnotes to a Website or Blog:
Given that technology is continually moving forward, formal processes for the citation of online texts have not yet been standardized. However, it is a common belief amongst experts that adding Footnotes to a website will help to enhance credibility and allow readers to reference original sources. The method used for including a website Footnote is as follows:
- Navigate to the website that is being used as the originating source
- If possible, find the name of the author of the webpage. Type the name of the webpage, the date it was published online, the URL of the website and the date that the page was visited.
- Record the information in due order, using commas.
- If the website does not have a date of publication, use ‘n.d.’ to mean ‘no date.’
More information on MLA citation
For an excellent source on writing footnotes and endnotes using MLA style, please go to the official MLA handbook:
Information relating to MLA style as presented here has been based mainly on 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.
MLA Citation Examples:
1. Book with one author or editor:1 Frank Feather, Canada's Best Careers Guide 2000 (Toronto: Warwick, 2000) 152-3. 1 Jerry White, ed. Death and Taxes: Beating One of the Two Certainties in Life (Toronto: Warwick, 1998) 7-8.
2. Book with two authors or editors:2 R.D. Hogg and Michael G. Mallin, Preparing Your Income Tax Returns: 2001 Edition for 2000 Returns (Toronto: CCH Canadian, 2001) 969:519. 2 Andrew Cohen and J.L. Granatstein, eds. Trudeau's Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Toronto: Random, 1998) 391.
3. Book with three or more authors or editors:3 Jack Canfield, et al., Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul: 101 Stories of Courage, Hope and Laughter (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1998) 68. 3 Mans O. Larsson, et al., eds. Let's Go: Germany 1998 (New York: St. Martin's, 1998) 96-98.
4. Book with no author or editor stated:4 The 1990 Charlton Coin Guide, 29th ed. (Toronto: Charlton, 1989) 39. 4 Microsoft PowerPoint Version 2002 Step by Step, (Redmond, WA: Perspection, 2001) 235.
5. Book that has been translated:5 Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, trans. M. Moyaart-Doubleday (Toronto: Bantam, 1993) 95.
6. Article in a collection by several authors, with one or more editors:6 Carmen DaSilva, "Life Insurance as a Tool for Estate Planning," Death and Taxes: Beating One of the Two Certainties in Life, ed. Jerry White (Toronto: Warwick, 1998) 57-71.6 Maryann G. Valiulis, "Power, Gender and Identity in the Irish Free State," Irish Women's Voices Past and Present, ed. Joan Hoff and Moureen Coulter (Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1995) 118.
7. Article from an encyclopedia with no author stated:7 "Malcolm X," Encyclopedia of Social Issues, 1997 ed.
8. Article from an encyclopedia with one author:8 Lawrence A. Presley, "DNA Fingerprinting," World Book Encyclopedia, 2000 ed.
9. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with no author stated:
Click here to see Abbreviations of Months of the Year9 "Bombardier Wins Order in Israel," Globe and Mail [Toronto] 29 Oct. 2002: B12. 9 "Lighting Up the World: A Canadian's Obsession Has Helped Thousands," Maclean's 4 Nov. 2002: 42-43.
10. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with one or more authors:10 Jonathan Alter and Geoffrey Gagnon, "The Future of New York," Newsweek 9 Sept. 2002: 50+. 10 Michael Friscolanti, "Convicts 'Morally' Fit to Vote: Supreme CourtRuling," National Post [Toronto] 1 Nov. 2002: A4. 10 Rita Daly, "Bird Flu Targeting the Young," Toronto Star11 Mar. 2006: A1+. 10 Tom Fennell, "From Misfit to Murderer," Maclean's 4 Nov. 2002: 32-34.
11. Pamphlet, with no author stated:11 2001 Chevy Tracker: Chevy Trucks (General Motors of Canada, 2000).11 Fosamax (Kirkland, PQ: Merck Frosst Canada, 2002).
12. Book, movie, film, product or software review:12 Henry Gordon, rev. of China! The Grand Tour, CD-ROM, Hopkins Technology, We Compute Feb. 1998: 15. 12 Katrina Onstad, "Not Too Naughty, Not Too Nice," rev. of The Santa Clause 2, dir. Michael Lembeck, National Post [Toronto] 1 Nov. 2002: PM5.
13. Government document:13 Canada, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Gathering Strength: Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan (Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2000) 12-13. 13 United States, National Council on Disability, Carrying on the Good Fight - Summary Paper from Think Tank 2000 - Advancing the Civil and Human Rights of People with Disabilities from Diverse Cultures (Washington: GPO, 2000) 6.
14. Interview:14 Hellmut Longin, Personal interview, 12 Feb. 2006.
15. Film or video recording:15 The Pacifier, dir. Adam Shankman, perf. Vin Diesel, DVD, Disney, 2005.15 A Simple wish, dir. Michael Ritchie, writ. Jeff Rothberg, perf. Martin Short and Mara Wilson, VHS, Universal, 1997.
16. Audio recording:16 Ginger, Solid Ground, Nettwerk, Vancouver, 1994.
17. Television or radio:17 Larry King Live, CNN, Nassau, Bahamas, 7 Mar. 2002. 17 Abbey Lincoln Sings Her Career, WBGO, Newark, NJ, 4 Mar. 2002.
18. Computer software or CD-ROM:18 National Parks: The Multimedia Family Guide, CD-ROM, Woodland Hills, CA: Cambrix, 1995. 18 Norton AntiVirus, CD-ROM, Symantec, 2003. 18 QuickTax: Tax Year 2002, CD-ROM, Intuit Canada, 2003.
Note: First date shall be a Web page creation or modification date. Second date shall be the date you accessed the Web page. If the Web page does not have a modification or creation date, leave it out, but always indicate your access date just before the URL.19 Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, "Aboriginal Peoples Survey: From APS I to APS II." Facts from Stats, Corporate Information Management Directorate, Issue No. 15, Mar. 2000, 15 Dec. 2004 <http://www.inac.gc.ca/nr/nwltr/sts/2000-03_e.html>. 19 James Henretta, et al., "Richard Allen and African-American Identity," America's History, Spring 1997, 11 Feb. 2006 <http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/spring97/allen.html>. 19 "Edsitement," 12 Feb. 2006 <http://edsitement.neh.gov>. 19 Abdullah al-Shiri, "Danish Cartoon Prompts Protest," Sunday Herald 29 Jan. 2006, 12 Feb. 2006 <http://ww1.sundayherald.com/53793>.
20. Reference to Shakespeare:
(Shakespeare’s plays are cited with Roman capitals for the Act, small Roman numerals for the Scene, and Arabic numerals for the Lines).20 Hamlet IV, i, 15-18.
In-text Footnotes or Endnotes may be added in an essay for a single Shakespearean play:20 Lear sums up his whole tragedy when he says, "I am a man more sinned against than sinning." (III, ii, 57)
21. Reference from the Bible, Catechism, or Sacred Texts:
Click here to see Abbreviations of Books of the Bible
Example in text:
An interesting reference was made to the picking of corn on the Sabbath.1
Example of Footnote citation, long form:1 Matthew 12:1-8.
Example of Footnote citation, short form:1 Mt 12:1-8.
List under Works Cited:The New Jerusalem Bible: Reader's Edition. New York: Doubleday, 1990.
Example in text:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity, for ‘from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth.'” 2
Example of first Footnote or Endnote citation of the above quote taken from Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part I, Section 2, Chapter 1, Article 1, Paragraph 6I, Reference Number: 360, Page 103, would be:
Subsequent citation of the same quote:3 Catechism, 360.
Citation of a different quote from the same book:4 Catechism, 1499.
List under Works Cited:Catechism of the Catholic Church. New York: Doubleday, 1994.
Examples of other Footnote or Endnote citations of sacred texts:5 Pius XII, encyclical, Summi Pontificatus 3. 6 Roman Catechism I, 10, 24.
22. Citations for a single work throughout essay:
If the entire essay is about one book, e.g. Carrie only and there are no other sources used, a Footnote or Endnote is needed only for the first quotation as follows:Stephen King, Carrie (New York: New American, 1974) 40. All subsequent quotations are from this edition.
After this, it is only necessary to supply the page number of the text:Sheriff Otis Doyle testified that Miss Snell told him that "Carrie did it. Carrie did it." (198)
23. Sources used more than once:
For more detailed treatment of this topic, see How to Write Footnotes and Endnotes.
1. If a source was footnoted earlier, you can use a shortened Footnote or Endnote providing only the author’s surname and the reference page number:1 King 197.
2. When two or more books by the same author are used as reference material, or there are sources by two or more authors with the same last name, include the short title or an abbreviated form of the title:2 King, Fire-Starter 279.2 King, It 13.
Be cautious not to confuse Footnote or Endnote citations with the Endnotes that authors use to explain their works, these are not the same things. These types of endnotes are used to add additional commentary, and not to cite specific text in the paper.
- MLA Citation, by Definition
- Example of MLA Citation:
- What are Footnotes and Endnotes?
- Adding Footnotes to a Website or Blog
- More information on MLA citation
- 1. Book with one author or editor
- 2. Book with two authors or editors
- 3. Book with three or more authors or editors
- 4. Book with no author or editor stated
- 5. Book that has been translated
- 6. Article in a collection by several authors, with one or more editors
- 7. Article from an encyclopedia with no author stated
- 8. Article from an encyclopedia with one author
- 9. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with no author stated
- 10. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with one or more authors
- 11. Pamphlet or brochure with no author stated
- 12. Book, movie, film, product, or software review
- 13. Government document
- 14. Interview
- 15. Film or video recording
- 16. Audio recording
- 17. Televisioin or radio
- 18. Computer software or CD-ROM
- 19. Internet
- 20. Reference to Shakespeare
- 21. Reference from the Bible, Catechism, or Sacred Texts
- 22. Citations for a single work throughout essay
- 23. Sources used more than once
Chapter 8 focuses exclusively on standard examples on writing Footnotes and Endnotes in MLA format.
Before learning how to properly write Footnotes and Endnotes, it is necessary to develop a foundational comprehension of MLA citation style.
Further information on copyright and plagiarism
This Chapter deals only with simple and common examples on how to write Footnote and Endnote citations.
Prior to learning how to write proper Footnote and Endnote citations, it is essential to first develop a stronger understanding of the MLA format.
MLA Format Definition
By way of definition, MLA style refers to the citation method developed by the Modern Language Association. This specific type of documentation method is most commonly used in the English (or other language) literature, cultural studies, and gender studies and humanities fields.
MLA guidelines dictate a number of parameters for in-text citation. For example, if the main paragraphs of your essay include reference to work written by someone other than yourself, you must acknowledge the quote or reference, in parenthesis, and follow this up with the surname of the original author and the page number indicting where the reference can be found in the originating source.
MLA Citation Example:
The gender wage gap is shrinking because “more women are entering trades and executive level business fields.” (Smit, 98).
Keep in mind that there are a number of things to consider when using the MLA format for sources that are not your own. More specifically, does the original material have two or more authors? Or, does the source come from a journal or a website? Perhaps it’s a source from a source? Or maybe even a block quote. Each of these things will necessitate a specific variation of the MLA style be followed.
Another thing to consider is the ‘works cited’ or the bibliography.
How to Write a Bibliography
Commonly referred to as a ‘works cited’ list, the bibliography is where you list relevant (and necessary) information about the sources used in your paper. Each and every source utilized in your paper must appear in the bibliography – no exceptions.
Adhere to these guidelines when creating your bibliography
- The bibliography should always appear on a separate page. The page will be numbered, in sequential order, according to the pages contained in the essay. On occasion, if the list is shorter in length, it may be reasonable to include the bibliography on the final page of the essay. However, the general rule of thumb is to use a separate page.
- The title – Bibliography – or – Works Cited – should always be centered. Remember that a proper MLA heading should always appear in the centre of a page. There is no need to use bold or italic font or to underline the title.
- The entire bibliography should be double spaced (or 1.5, 2.0 etc as long as it follows the same space alignment as the rest of the essay.)
- Every entry will utilize what is known as a ‘hanging indent.’ A hanging indent simply means that the first line of each entry is flush with the margin and that every subsequent line should be indented five to seven spaces (equal to Tab.)
- Unlike other documentation styles, MLA format citations examples and bibliography texts should reference the authors surnames in alphabetical order. In cases where the surname of the author is not known, it is appropriate to list titles alphabetically.
- When more than one work, written by the same author, is to be cited, they should be alphabetized by title and the name of the author included in the initial entry.
Footnotes and Endnotes
MLA 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.
What is a footnote: The term ‘footnote’ refers to ancillary notes added to the end of a page. They are used to offer commentary or cite references on a specific part of text in the body of the paper. For example, should an author wish to include an interesting fact or comment about one of the statements made in the paper, but that comment is seemingly irrelevant to the argument being presented, they may choose to include that information in a footnote. In this scenario, they would embed a symbol as a placeholder for the footnote at the end of the sentence being commented on and reprint the symbol and their commentary in the footnote.
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.
If you are still 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.
The process for including Footnotes or Endnotes in fairly consistent for most types of texts, however, what about including footnotes on virtual media like websites and blogs?
How to Footnote a Website
Technology is ever changing, and as such, the process for standardizing citation on websites has not yet been formalized. However, many thought leaders believe that the inclusion of website footnotes will not only lend credibility to the site, but also allow readers to utilize originating sources in order to gather additional information. Creating a website footnote is not difficult.
- Visit the website for which the footnote is being created.
- Locate (if possible) the name of the web page author. Write down the name of the website, the date the information was published online, the site URL and the date that you visited the page.
- List the recorded information in order, using commas. MLA format example: John Smith, “The Hot Summer Sidewalk,” 2009, http://www.thehotsidewalk.com (accessed September 25, 2010).
- Note whether or not the website has a date of publication by using “n.d.” to signify “no date”.
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).
More tips concerning MLA footnote example.
First Footnote or Endnote example of MLA format:2 G. Wayne Miller, King of Hearts: The True Storyof the Maverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery (New York: Times, 2000) 245.
Bibliography example:Miller, G. Wayne. King of Hearts: The True Story of theMaverick Who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery. New York: Times, 2000.
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:
3 Ibid. 12-15.
More commonly, author and page number or numbers are now used instead of ibid., e.g.:
4 Miller 12-15.
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:
5 Miller 198.
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:
An interesting reference was made to the picking of corn on the Sabbath.8
Example of Footnote citation, long form:
8 Matthew 12:1-8.
8 Mt 12:1-8.
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 Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Because of its common origin 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:
9 Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: Doubleday, 1994) 360.
Subsequent citation of this same quote:
10 Catechism 360.
Citation of a different quote from the same book:
11 Catechism 1499.
List under Works Cited:
Catechism of the Catholic Church. New York: Doubleday, 1994.
Examples of Footnote or Endnote citations for other sacred texts:
12 Pius XII, encyclical, Summi Pontificatus 3.
13 Roman Catechism I, 10, 24.
Do not confuse Footnote and Endnote citations with explanatory Notes that some authors refer to as “Endnotes.” These Notes are not considered to be citations but are used to add comments, explanations, or additional information relating to specific passages in the text.
For detailed information on writing Footnotes and Endnotes, please use the official MLA Handbook:
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.