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Mla Format Essay Footnotes

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:

  1. Navigate to the website that is being used as the originating source
  2. 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.
  3. Record the information in due order, using commas.
  4. 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 Year

9 "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.

19. Internet:

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:

2 Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: Doubleday, 1994) 360.

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.

In Summation

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.



  1. MLA Citation, by Definition
  2. Example of MLA Citation:
  3. What are Footnotes and Endnotes?
  4. Adding Footnotes to a Website or Blog
  5. More information on MLA citation
  6. 1. Book with one author or editor
  7. 2. Book with two authors or editors
  8. 3. Book with three or more authors or editors
  9. 4. Book with no author or editor stated
  10. 5. Book that has been translated
  11. 6. Article in a collection by several authors, with one or more editors
  12. 7. Article from an encyclopedia with no author stated
  13. 8. Article from an encyclopedia with one author
  14. 9. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with no author stated
  15. 10. Article from a magazine, journal, or newspaper with one or more authors
  16. 11. Pamphlet or brochure with no author stated
  17. 12. Book, movie, film, product, or software review
  18. 13. Government document
  19. 14. Interview
  20. 15. Film or video recording
  21. 16. Audio recording
  22. 17. Televisioin or radio
  23. 18. Computer software or CD-ROM
  24. 19. Internet
  25. 20. Reference to Shakespeare
  26. 21. Reference from the Bible, Catechism, or Sacred Texts
  27. 22. Citations for a single work throughout essay
  28. 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.

If you choose to indent your paragraphs as recommended in the MLA Handbook, 6th ed. (132), begin a new paragraph by typing the first word 1/2" (1.25 cm or 5 spaces) from the left margin. The entire essay is typed double-spaced, except for Footnote citations at the foot of the page. Title of essay centered, 1” (2.5 cm) margin on all four sides, page number at upper right hand corner 1/2" (1.25 cm) down from the top.
If your instructor prefers that paragraphs not be indented, you must still double-space your lines, but you will need to quadruple-space between paragraphs. More empty space is created for the instructor to write comments when paragraphs are not indented.
Footnotes must be listed numerically and consecutively, both in your essay and in your Footnote citation. Footnote numbers must be superscripted. In your text, add a superscripted number immediately after the quote or reference cited with no space.
The Footnote citations must be added at the foot or bottom of the SAME page where you have cited the sources. All first Footnote references must be cited in full. Subsequent references of the same work may be shortened to include only the author's last name and page number. If the source cited has no author stated, use whatever minimal information is needed to identify the same work previously cited, e.g. short title and page number. Formerly, the Latin terms ibid. and op. cit. were used but they are no longer preferred.
It is recommended that you use Endnotes in place of Footnotes. This will eliminate the need to allow sufficient space to accommodate all the required Footnote entries at the bottom of the same page where your citations occur. If your instructor has no preference, use the much simpler Parenthetical Documentation in place of Footnotes or Endnotes.
For details on how to handle Footnotes that continue onto the next page, please see pages 269-270 in:
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003.Note: A new edition of MLA Handbook is now available:

MLA Handbook
for Writers of Research Papers
7th Edition

Begin your Footnote citations four lines (quadruple space) below your text. Follow the spacing as shown in the example below, e.g. indent the first line 1/2" (1.25 cm), and add a space after the superscripted number. Do not indent second and subsequent lines of Footnotes. Single-space Footnotes within each citation as there is not much room at the bottom of the page. Double-space entries between citations, and be sure to list them in the same consecutive order as cited in the text of the essay.

Jones 1

Tracy Jones

Mr. K. Smith


26 May 2016

The Many Facets of Taboo

        The World Book Encyclopedia defines Taboo as "an action, object, person, or place forbidden by law or culture."1

        An encyclopedia of the occult points out that taboo is found among many other cultures including the ancient Egyptians, Jews and others.2

       Mary Douglas has analyzed the many facets and interpretations of taboos across various cultures. She points out that the word "taboo" originates from the Polynesian languages meaning a religious restriction.3She finds that "taboos flow from social boundaries and support the social structure."4

           Robert Deliège points out that as early as 1777, Captain James Cook reported that some chiefs in Tonga were taboo and were not allowed to behave like common people, and that the first European observers were not quite sure whether "taboo" meant "sacred" or "defiled."5

        In traditional British East Africa, between the time of puberty and marriage, a young Akamba girl must maintain an avoidance relationship with her own father.6

        Looking at taboo in a modern society, Marvin Harris gives an interesting example of the application of cultural materialism to the Hindu taboo against eating beef.7




         5 Robert Deliège, "Untouchability - Taboos - Bibliography,"?Science Encyclopedia, Web. 26 May 2012 <http://science.jrank.org/pages/8139/Untouchability-Taboos.html>.

         6 Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (New York: Random, 1918) 17.

         7 Marvin Harris, "The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle," Current Anthropology 1992, 7:51-66, qtd. in Stacy McGrath, "Ecological Anthropology," Anthropological Theories: A Guide Prepared by Students for Students 19 Oct. 2001, U. of Alabama, Web. 26 May 2012 <http://www.as.ua.edu/ant/Faculty/Murphy/ecologic.htm>.

If your instructor considers your Footnote citations to be adequate documentation, you may not be required to complete a Works Cited, References or Bibliography page. Otherwise, a separate page must be added at the end of your paper entitled: Works Cited, References, or Bibliography to include all of the above Footnote citations. See sample below.

Works Cited

Deliège, Robert. "Untouchability - Taboos - Bibliography." Science Encyclopedia, 2012, Web. 26 May 2012 <http://science.jrank.org/pages/8139/Untouchability-Taboos.html>.

Douglas, Mary. "Taboo." Man, Myth & Magic. Ed. Richard Cavendish. New ed. 21 vols. New York: Cavendish, 1994. 2546-2549. Print.

Dundes, Alan. "Taboo." World Book Encyclopedia. 2000 ed. Print.

Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. New York: Random, 1918. Print.

McGrath, Stacy. "Ecological Anthropology." Anthropological Theories: A Guide Prepared by Students for Students. 19 Oct. 2001. U. of Alabama. Web. 26 May 2012


"Taboo." Occultopedia: Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences and Knowledge. Site created and designed by Marcus V. Gay. Web. 26 May 2012 <http://www.occultopedia.com/t/



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