Footnotes and Endnotes

April 8, 2011 by

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.

The main difference between Footnotes and Endnotes is where they are placed.  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.

When mentioning a work for the first time, a full and complete Footnote or Endnote entry must be made.

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. 1

Both, Footnotes and Endnotes, include author’s name, title, publishing house, city of publication, year of publication, and pages where you found the information. See example below.

First Footnote or Endnote example:

               2 Elie Wiesel, Night (New York: Bantam Books: 1960) 26.


Bibliography example:

Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam Books, 1960.

 For a website, include author’s name of website, title of webpage, date it was published, web address, editors name if applicable, and date you accessed the page.  Web pages are tricky because even credible websites don’t always have all of this information.  See example for this blog post below.

 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:2


1 “Are Search Guide,” 2008, (accessed March 26, 2011)


Chicago Manual Style

March 26, 2011 by

For those of you majoring in history, literature and the arts you may be required to use a form of Chicago Manual Documentation Style known as the Notes-Bibliography System.

The paper should be footnoted according to the standard CMS guidelines, double-spaced, in 12 pt font, with page numbers and one inch margins all around.  Certain professors will require both a title page and a bibliography page.

The Notes-Bibliography system includes either an endnote or footnote every time you use a source.  This can come in the form of a direct quote, paraphrase or summary.  Footnotes appear at the end of the page on which the source is referenced, while endnotes are grouped at the end of each chapter or at the end of the paper.

*Quick note: The first time you cite a source include the author’s full name; source title; and facts of publication (much like the bibliography).  If you cite the same source again, the note only needs to include the surname of the author, a shortened form of the title, and page number(s).

Also, in the Notes-Bibliography system, the bibliography provides an alphabetical list of all sources you use for your research paper.

Use the following guidelines to cite your sources.

Use the first format for your bibliography (B) and the second for the footnotes (FN). Items in your bibliography should be divided between primary and secondary sources and listed by author in alphabetical order. Your bibliography should be single spaced, with one blank line between entries. For additional information on how to cite sources, check the Chicago Manual of Style Online, or click here.

Bossy, John.  Christianity in the West 1400-1700.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
) Bossy, Christianity West, 212.

Journal Article
Brown, Elizabeth A.R. “The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and the Historians of Medieval Europe,” The American Historical Review 79 (1974): 1063-1088.
(FN) Brown, “The Tyranny,” 1080.

Article in a Book
DeLooz, Pierre. “Towards a sociological study of canonized sainthood in the Catholic Church,” in Saints and their Cults: Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore and History, ed. Stephen Wilson, 189-216. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
(FN) DeLooz, “Towards a sociological study,” 200.

Primary Source in Collection
Gregory VII. “First Deposition and Banning of Henry IV by Gregory VII,” in The Middle Ages: Volume I, Sources of Medieval History ed. Brian Tierney, 124-125. New York: McGraw Hill, 1999.
Gregory VII, “First Deposition,” 124.

Primary Source from the Internet [For secondary sources from the internet, such as articles from JSTOR, use the Journal Article format above].
James I of Aragón. “The Barcelona Navigation Act of 1227.” TheInternetMedievalSourcebook. (accessed March 25, 2011).
James I, “Navigation Act.”

Sources you should NOT use for your Paper
Class Notes
General Encyclopedias
Popular Magazine Articles
Popular History Books
Secondary Sources from the Internet including, but not limited to Wikipedia and other online encyclopedias. [As a general rule, do not cite secondary sources from the internet.  Academic articles, book reviews, etc. are kept online in databases like JStor or H-Net].

Lions, Tigers and MLA, Oh My!

March 17, 2011 by

Hey All! So, we know that trying to figure out all the different rules about margins, citations, headers and works cited pages gets a little sticky, especially in one style to the next. In an effort to help people try to get a handle on some of the issues, we here at the Writing Center are going to do a few posts that try to break down some of the specifics of each style. For this post, I am going to focus on boarders, margins and spacing within the paper for MLA. Note that these are in accordance with the 2010 edition of the MLA handbook. If you are in a field where you will have to use MLA frequently, you actually might consider purchasing a copy. However, there are other internet sources, like the fantastic Purdue Owl website. Also check our blog for tips on other styles, like APA and Chicago.

Margins, Headers and Spacing, Oh My!

One of the first things you should do when working on your paper is immediately set up the margins. It is one of the easiest steps, and one of the easiest to forget. Specifically, these standards are for “research papers.” They will apply to all your standard literary essays, but always double-check with your professor.

The standard paper should have a 1-inch boarder on all sides: top and bottom, left and right. The border between your last name and page number, which should appear on the upper right-hand corner of every page, needs to be half an inch. The header, or the body of the text, is what will begin an inch down. When you indent at the start of a paragraph, that is half an inch, and block quotes starts an inch in from the already set left boarder (2 inches from the very edge of the paper). Check out this site for an actual picture layout of the margins!

Spacing & Font:
You must double space everything, including the header and block quotes! The only exception to this rule is if your professor specifically tells you to treat the papers a different way. Also keep in mind that the standard font used for most MLA research papers is Times New Roman. If you would like to use a different font, be sure to check with your professor first.

Keep in mind that your header needs to be double spaced in between each line, and that it appears in the upper left-hand corner of the first page of your paper. The information it needs to include is your name, the teacher’s name, the course number, and the date. Remember, the date usually goes (for the purposes of the header) the date, month then year.

Good luck! Keep posted for more articles on MLA citation and works cited pages!

Welcome to the exciting world of APA formatting!

March 9, 2011 by

Welcome to the exciting world of APA formatting. While most of us can assume that our essays will conform to the MLA style, some essays, especially those in the social sciences, will have to use the APA method. So, what exactly does this entail?
Formatting: Headers and Clearly marked sections.

The header is simply a space on the top of each page that states the title of your paper. You should also place the page number at the top of the page.
In an essay in the social sciences, each section in a paper should be clearly marked, for example, as: title page, abstract, main body, references, and in some cases, introduction and conclusion.

Citations: Direct and Indirect quotes

According to APA styling, if you are using a direct quote then you must site the source. If you are merely referring to a source or idea that you have already referenced in your paper, you do not need to include the full citation. All you have to do is reference the author and the year of publication of the text, for example, (Smith, 2002.) Remember, most of these papers will need to include a list of sources at the end, so you shouldn’t worry too much. For a direct quote, you should first reference the author and the year at the beginning of the quote, and then add the page number at the end. For example, According to Smith (2002), “Students who were familiar with MLA formatting often found it tedious to switch to APA formatting” (p. 29). If you are using a source with two different authors, then include both in the citation, for example (Smith and Johnson, 2002).

Citation: Articles, Books, and electronic sources

When you are compiling your references, it is important to cite them properly. To cite an article, the rule is:

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

If there is more than one author, list them all alphabetically at the beginning;

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

If you are citing from a book, then this is the proper format;

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

And finally, if citing from an electronic source, you should use;
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available). Retrieved from

APA guidelines can be tricky, but there are plenty of resources out there for you to use. You do not usually need to worry about footnotes or endnotes. You merely want a neat and clearly explained paper. Good luck!

virtues of the grading rubric?

February 28, 2011 by

It’s not a mystery as to why students tend to feel anxious about grades. When your writing is being ranked, evaluated, tension lurks around every corner. Though there is no complete or easy solution to this quagmire—you can use your professor’s evaluation standards and philosophies to your advantage. When presented with a grading rubric (a set of criteria typically listing performance standards tied to letter grades) instead of worrying so much about the grade think more about the language. Is it coherent? What’s the logic? What does it say about crafting an essay?

Reading carefully through the rubric can provide you with a mental picture of what’s being asked of you. Moreover, when you’re still learning what makes a strong thesis; how to structure the argument following the thesis; and particulars of analysis and sentence mechanics, absorbing details of this nature goes a long way in being able to think critically about academic essays.

Whether you like evaluation or the thought of it makes you cringe, looking at the rubric and speaking with your professor not only helps you understand what it takes to make a grade—but more importantly gives you a discernible outlook on how to become a well-established college writer. My advice, don’t shy away from it because of how it makes you feel. Find what’s right about it and learn. And find what doesn’t work for you and put it through the wringer.

Transitive and Intrasitive Verbs

February 27, 2011 by

Trying to think of some ways to clarify your paper, or to get into the nitty gritty of grammar? This is the perfect post for you! Let’s start with this: try to identifying the direct and indirect objects in your sentence. Not sure what I’m talking about? Read on!

Well, a direct object follows the transitive verb.  But what’s a transitive verb?

A transitive verb is something you do followed by who or what it is being done to. 

 An intransitive verb is a verb not proceeded by direct object–something you do but it is not mentioned who or what it is being done to.

 Example: Jordan returned the car.            Transitive (T) verb: returned//Direct object (DO) = the car

    Serra returned before supper.  Intransitive (I): returned, but with no direct object.

 Now you try:  Identify the underlined verb as transitive (T) or intransitive (I).  If transitive identify the direct object.

  1. Smokey the bear hates forest fires. 
  2. Little Jennifer found the missing key.
  3. Wilhelmina collects tropical fish.
  4. The Hernandez family eats outdoors in the summer.
  5. The irate customer spoke angrily.


  1. Answers: 1(T) direct object = “forest fires” , 2 (T) direct object = “key”, 3 (T) direct object = “fish”, 4 (I) What do they eat while outdoors?, 5 (I) Who did he speak to?

 Now, let’s try the indirect-object inversion technique.

  • Neal sent the package to Krystal.
  • Transitive verb = sent
  • Direct object = the package
  • Indirect Object=  Krystal
  • Now switch the two and you’ll get a new sentence like, Neal sent Krystal the package.
  • Note: This technique does not work if there is no indirect object.  For example, you cannot rearrange the sentence: She bought a watch for forty dollars. You could not say, though: She bought forty dollars a watch.

 Now, you try.  Rewrite the following sentences, if you can.  First, identify the indirect object. Remember: If there is no indirect object, then it cannot be rewritten!

    • Mrs. Smith gave a new dress to her daughter.
    • The commissioner sent it to the new champion.
    • Ned handed a hundred dollars to his bookie.
    • Mr. Jones bought it for his grandson.

Answers: 1) Mrs. Smith gave her daughter a new dress.  2) No (INDO). 3) Ned handed his bookie a hundred dollars.  4) No (INDO)

Run-on sentences

February 23, 2011 by

When you write an academic essay, you have a lot of information to consider. All of this information is jockeying for a place in the essay; each piece wants to go first, and to be the most important. Sometimes, because of this mass of information, it is hard to stick to one topic at a time. One of the problems that will arise from this is that you may find yourself writing a lot of run on sentences. If you can identify what a run-on sentence is, then you will be able to avoid them more easily. A run-on sentence has at least two independent clauses that are improperly fused together. They are either two clauses that are best left separate because they do not actually connect to each other, or they are two clauses that have a connection that is insufficient. Run-on sentences can be confusing to recognize. They offer a tempting means of organizing a mass of information. Run-on sentences are tempting, because they masquerade as complex clauses. In an academic essay, it is important to take your time when organizing your thoughts. Analyze your sentences, and try to notice how each clause connects to the next one. Here are some examples of run-on sentences:

1. When an independent clause gives an order or directive based on what was said in the prior independent clause:
The restaurant is downtown, you should take the freeway.
2. When two independent clauses are connected by a transitional expression (conjunctive adverb) such as however, moreover, nevertheless.
Ms. Smith enjoys the literature program at her college, however, she has left her homework in the library.
3. When the second of two independent clauses contains a pronoun that connects it to the first independent clause.
This DVD player isn’t working, it didn’t’ come with instructions.

How do we fix these sentences?

One way that we can separate the sentences is with a period. Never underestimate the impact of short, concise sentences. If you want to keep the sentences relatively complex, you can use a semi-colon. A semi-colon is a great tool to use for avoiding comma splices. Another way to fix a run-on is to use both a comma and a conjunction, like ‘and’ or ‘but’. You can employ a variety of techniques, but the important thing to remember is that the two (or more) clauses must connect logically; they cannot merely be stuck together. A clause is a complete and logical thought. It is important to give your thought the credit that it is due, after all, you’ve worked hard on it!

Top 5 Ways for Defeating Writer’s Block

February 22, 2011 by

Hello All! As you might have noticed, we have added several exciting new writers to our team. Be sure to check out some of their recent posts on working on conclusions, taking an assignment and owning it, and the importance of punctuation! If none of these topics interest you, you can always leave a comment and let us know what you want to hear about!

Now that all of that stuff is out of the way, let’s talk about some of the easiest ways to help you get over writer’s block!

1. Just start writing: It doesn’t matter what comes out on paper, or what the grammar looks like—just get that pencil moving. Another secret here is try doing this with a pen and paper. Sometimes it is easier to have your hands moving and to feel creative when you used the old fashioned way, instead of the computer.
2. Make an outline: Sometimes the task of taking on an essay feels so overwhelming, that it is impossible to get started. One of the easiest ways to get past this anxiety is to organize your thoughts in a clear and concise outline. This way, you know how your essay is going to be structured, and you just have to write it.
3. Take a walk: Being cooped up in a small room, staring at a blank computer screen does not help to get those creative juices flowing. Go outside, take a walk, appreciate the fresh air, and come back. Sometimes all you need is a change in scenery to get that thought process going.
4. Make a poster: I know this one may sound like you are stuck back in elementary school, but trust me–it works! Having a huge space to take notes, doodle or creatively explore your ideas can really loosen you up and get the ideas flowing easily!
5. Talk it out: Meet up with a study group that is in the same class. Explore some of the ideas that you found interesting. You can feed off of each other. It is an easy way to not only make new friends in the class, but to actively engage with a text that you are reading. Just be sure to take notes!

Why punctuation matters

February 11, 2011 by

Why is punctuation so important?

  • Ambiguity: Women without her man is a savage.
    • A comma can radically change the meaning of a sentence.  Who is the savage?
    • Women, without her man, is a savage.
    • Women: without her, man is a savage.


  • I would like to thank my parents Sinead O’Connor and the Pope.
    • Did Sinead O’Connor and the Pope have a baby?!?  How many people are being thanked?
    • I would like to thank my parents, Sinead O’Connor, and the Pope.
  • To build a tree house you need an imaginative child and four support beams all nailed directly to the tree.
    • What is happening to this baby?  How do you build a tree house?

To build a tree house you need an imaginative child, and four support beams all nailed directly to the tree.

doing your best to make essay assignments your own

February 8, 2011 by

Though many of the essays you write as an undergrad tend to be direct responses to questions prepared by your professor, sometimes your best bet is to approach each topic with a question of your own: How do I make this essay my own?

You’ve been, by and large, taught the standard model of an essay: Introduction, Thesis, Body (coherent logic tying together evidence and ideas relative to the claim(s) of the Thesis) and Conclusion.  But sometimes it’s hard to come up with a clear and insightful thesis—particularly when you have cursory knowledge of the topic; minimal interest; or simply struggle to understand it.  Thus when I say making the essay your own, what I mean is answering the question(s) within a, let’s call it a subcontext, of an argument or idea that you’re interested in, knowledgeable of, or have direct experience with.

For example, your assignment is to read a famous politician or philosopher’s speech and answer a question that’s designed to promote analysis (i.e. What are some of the rhetorical tenants of their persuasive arguments?  What does it illuminate about the social dynamics of the time period?  And what role does the church play with respect to being the foundation of their logic?). Questions, essays, of this nature tend to serve as practical practice for students for the purpose of sharpening their rhetorical skills.  Yet sometimes they appear to leave little room for the important process of going beyond surface-level analysis/summary and into the domain interpretation.

It’s rather common that when a student is asked to create a novel thesis out of what initially appears to be a container that can only fit large swaths of summary with only small segments of analysis, their thesis is in danger of not being a thesis at all.  All writers in these situations can find that their paper has a repetitive Introduction, vague Thesis that can’t quite provide the structure for the paper to follow and a Body that is supported by fractured integrations of bits of examples/citations.  Basically, the paper is fragmented.

Although you will find certain questions or topics that do not leave you struggling to form a strong thesis (marked by being easily identifiable, plausible and refined), no matter what you’re faced with as a student you have to sift through the assignments and bring the argument “closer to home.”  There are many ways to do this.  One way is find what you like.  For instance, if you find religion to be a fascinating topic you can start to think about what insights can be elicited from the disciplines of psychology or history.  This can lead to, say, coming to understand patterns (small examples of the historical trajectories) of religion’s role in politics.  Thus you can back track and begin to form an argument that attempts to explain some connections as to why the politician or philosopher used religion in a multifaceted way to disarm his oppositions and call for action.

But the tricky part is sometimes doing all the extra research not only is not part of the assignment, but also impossible do to time restraints.  Still, you don’t strictly have to think about this in terms of a large research paper because sometimes making an essay your own merely entails you taking a topic and lending your own memory, knowledge and experience.

Either way, the endpoint is to foster connections in order to better understand things.  Starting with a little research right now, or being willing to incorporate your own knowledge, can serve as the essential practice for what you’ll be asked to do more and more as you pursue your degree.  The sooner you pull away the seedlings of what you’re interested in, know, or are interested in knowing, the sooner you begin to teach yourself—germinating independent thought.