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Citation guides -- Chicago

The elements of a citation in the text of your paper

Footnotes and endnotes

Sections 14.15 and 14.17 of the Chicago Manual introduce the basic elements of footnotes and endnotes:  the author's name(s), an article title or book chapter title if needed, the title of the book or journal, and the publication information.  A footnote or endnote citation will always follow this basic structure, though there will be some variation of how you construct these different elements depending on whether you are citing a book, book chapter, journal article, or content in some other medium.  You should also note that the construction of footnotes and endnotes differ slightly from that of a citation in a bibliography.

Some general rules to keep in mind:

  • The elements of the citation are separated by commas.

  • The author's first name is written out, middle name(s) are written as initials, and last name is written out.  If there are four or more authors, list the first author followed by a comma and then the words "et al."  Et al indicates there are additional authors not listed in the footnote.  For further info, see section 14.76 of the Manual.

  • Book editors and translators are noted by the abbreviations ed. and trs.

  • All Major Words in a Title are Capitalized.  A subtitle is separated from the title by a colon.

  • The title of a book chapter or an article is "put in quotation marks"

  • The title of a book or journal is italicized

  • The publication information for books is (put in parentheses).  For a journal article, there is a space but no other punctuation between the journal title and the publication information.  Also for a journal article, the volume and issue number are separated by a comma and are not put in parentheses, though the year is.  If the journal lists a month or a month and day of publication, include it before the year of publication.  For further info on citing journal publication information, see sections 14.171-186 of the Manual.

  • If you directly quote an author's words, put the page number of the book or article on which those words are found after the publication information.  Alternately, write "line" or "lines" and then the line numbers for plays or poetry.

    • For books, type a comma and a space after the closed parenthesis of the publication information, then type the page number(s). 
    • For journal articles, type a colon and a space after the closed parenthesis of the publication information, then type the page number(s).

For further info, see sections 14.157-158 and 14.163 of the Manual.  Refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for more information on footnotes.


Parenthetical author-date references

For parenthetical author-date references, "parenthetical" means that the name of the author and the date of the work you are citing are placed in (parentheses).  They are presented in the text of your paper like this:

Author’s name in text (no page number):
Walker (2016) compared reaction times. . .

Author’s name in reference (no page number):
In a recent study of reaction times (Walker 2016). . .

Author’s name in text (page number):
According to Cuno (2008, 3), “Most often it falls to the museum to prove that it has the right to keep the questioned unprovenanced antiquity."

Author’s name in reference (page number):
The argument runs that, “The term 'Czechoslovak' had become a rich source of contention almost immediately after the state's formation,” (Innes 2001, 16).

There is no comma between the author's name and the year of publication.  If you are citing a direct quotation from a work, you need to include the page number(s) on which the quote appears in your reference following the year of publication -- this time with a comma.

If a book has four or more authors, list only the first author's name followed by the words "et al." and any page numbers if necessary.  For example: (Hughes et al. 2008, 24-25).


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