How to write an essay footnote

by Emily

Footnotes may not be the most exciting aspect of university level English or History, but they're a great way to demonstrate the research that has gone into an essay.

Footnotes have a variety of purposes, including providing an author's comments on the text, acknowledging referred works, and referencing quotations. They are usually placed at the bottom of the page to which they refer. (When collected and published at the end of a volume, they are more commonly referred to as endnotes.)

Footnotes are highlighted in the text by a superscripted number following the main text they expand upon:

Examples of footnotes can be found in many texts, especially academic ones 1

When expanding on an author's personal thoughts, there is no set format for footnotes. However it is advisable to keep them as concise as possible, if you find a footnote expanding into a paragraph, then it should probably be incorporated into the main text of your university History or English essay. When using them to acknowledge or reference other works, the Modern Language Association suggests the following forms:

For books: Author's name, Title of Book, Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Print. (Supplementary information as necessary)

E.g. Arnold, Catharine Necropolis: London and its Dead, London: Simon and Schuster, 2006. Print.

For a periodical or article: Author's Name, "Article title" Title of periodical Volume number (Date of publication) Inclusive page numbers. Print.

E.g. Furst, Amber, "True Colours" Modern Bride 10 (Oct/Nov 2009),"216-223" Print

For Internet resources: Webpage author's name "Article Title" Title of Webpage Sponsoring Agency, date of publication (or date of last page modification) Web. Web address.

E.g. Rincon, Paul "Re-start for 'Big Bang' Machine" BBC News, British Broadcasting Corporation, 20th November 2009, Web.