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MLA Footnotes. How to Write Footnotes and Endnotes in MLA Style

This section focuses on providing basic examples of Footnote and Endnote citations.

Before learning about Footnote and Endnote citations, it is important to have a strong understanding of the MLA format.

The MLA style is a citation method developed by the Modern Language Association and is primarily used in English literature, cultural studies, gender studies, and humanities fields.

MLA guidelines specify several parameters for in-text citation. For instance, if you reference work written by someone other than yourself in the first paragraphs of your essay, you must acknowledge the quote or reference in parentheses and include the surname of the original author along with the page number indicating where the reference can be found in the original source.

MLA Citation Example:

According to Smit, the gender wage gap is shrinking as more women enter trades and executive-level business fields (98).

It is important to keep in mind that there are various factors to consider when using MLA format for sources that are not your own. For example, does the original material have multiple authors? Is the source from a journal or website? Is it a source within a source or a block quote? Each of these factors requires a specific version of MLA style to be followed.

Additionally, it is crucial to include a ‘works cited’ or bibliography section.

How to Write a Bibliography

The bibliography, commonly referred to as the “works cited” list, is a crucial section where you include relevant information about the sources referenced in your paper. It is mandatory to list every source used in your paper in the bibliography, without any exceptions

Adhere to these guidelines when creating your bibliography

  • The bibliography should always have its own page and be numbered accordingly, following the pages of the essay. In some cases, if the list is short, it may be included on the final page of the essay, but a separate page is generally preferred. The title of the bibliography, either “Bibliography” or “Works Cited,” should be centered, following the proper MLA heading guidelines.
  • The entire bibliography should be double spaced, or have the same spacing alignment as the rest of the essay, such as 1.5 or 2.0. Each entry should have a hanging indent, where the first line is flush with the margin and subsequent lines are indented five to seven spaces or using the Tab key.Unlike other citation styles, MLA format requires entries to be alphabetized by the author’s surname. In cases where the author’s surname is not known, titles should be listed alphabetically. When citing multiple works by the same author, they should be alphabetized by title and the author’s name included in the first entry.

Footnotes and Endnotes

  • MLA Footnotes and Endnotes are essential for acknowledging sources of any material used in a paper, whether it is quoted, summarized, or paraphrased. These notes guide readers to the specific pages of the works listed in the Works Cited, References, or Bibliography section.
  • Footnotes are additional notes placed at the end of a page to provide statements or cite references related to a particular part of the text in the body of the paper. These notes can include interesting facts or comments that may be irrelevant to the main argument of the paper. In this case, the author can include the information in a footnote by embedding an image as a placeholder for the footnote at the end of the sentence being commented on, and reprinting the symbol and their comment in the footnote.
  • The primary difference between Footnotes and Endnotes is that Footnotes are placed numerically at the bottom of the same page where direct references are made, while Endnotes are placed numerically at the end of the essay on a separate page titled “Endnotes” or “Notes.”
  • If using a typewriter, a superscript number is typed half a space above the line after the last word of the quotation, e.g., “The information Superhighway is giving way to a Commercial Superhighway.”1. If using a word processor, the superscript feature can be accessed. To create a Footnote citation, the same superscript number is placed at the beginning of the Footnote at the bottom of the same page where the quotation occurs.
  • When citing work for the first time, a complete and full Footnote or Endnote entry should be made.
  • The process for including Footnotes or Endnotes is similar for most types of texts, but what about including footnotes on digital media such as websites and blogs?

How to Footnote a Website

Since technology is constantly evolving, there is no established approach for citing websites. Nevertheless, several influential figures assert that adding website footnotes can enhance a site’s credibility and help readers access the original sources for further information. Fortunately, creating a website footnote is a simple process.

  1. To create a website footnote, first, navigate to the website you wish to cite. If possible, identify the author of the webpage and note down the name of the site, the date it was published online, the URL, and the date you accessed it.
  2. Arrange this information in the following order, separated by commas: author’s name (if available), “title of webpage,” date published (if available), URL (enclosed in angle brackets), and date accessed.
  3. If the website does not have a date of publication, use “n.d.” in place of the date. For example: John Smith, “The New Summer Sidewalk,” 2009,  (accessed September 25, 2010).

It is important to remember that Footnote and Endnote citations should only include one sentence and one period, while Bibliography entries should consist of at least three sentences and periods for the author, title, and publication information.

Use of Superscript:

To format Footnote and Endnote entries, use a 5-space indentation or [Tab] from the left margin. Keep one space between the superscript number and the entry. Avoid indenting second and subsequent lines. Double-space between entries. Number Footnotes and Endnotes in sequence using superscripts, such as 1, 2, 3, and so on.

For Endnotes, use the same superscript number as in the text for each Endnote in your Endnotes list. Start your Endnotes list on a new page after your essay. It’s best to place the Endnotes page before the Bibliography, Works Cited, or References page.

Refer to examples for formatting first Footnotes or Endnotes, subsequent Footnotes or Endnotes, and listings on Works Cited or References page.