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MLA Style Guide - 7th Edition

Endnotes and Footnotes

MLA recommends limited use of endnotes and footnotes as they can be distracting to the reader.


However, sometimes your instructor or editor may request that you use them. If that is the case, follow the suggestions on this page for guidance.

FAQ

How do endnotes and footnotes differ from the Works Cited page?

Endnotes and footnotes are not used to cite an outside source. They may be used for two reasons: (1) to provide the reader with additional information or explanation, or (2) to list several sources consulted but not referred to in the text, or provide commentary on a source.

Endnotes

If your instructor requests endnotes: Endnotes should be placed on a separate page, after the content of the paper but before the Works Cited page. The page should be titled "Notes," centered on the page.

  • The notes themselves should be listed by consecutive numbers that correspond to the notation in the text. [i.e., place a superscript numeral at the end of the sentence in the text for which you want to make a notation.]
     
  • Notes are double-spaced.
     
  • Each endnote is indented five spaces; subsequent lines are flush with the left margin.
     
  • Place a period and a space after each endnote number. Provide the appropriate note after the space.

Courtesy of Purdue OWL

Footnotes

If your instructor requests footnotes: The 7th edition of the MLA Handbook does not recommend a certain style or format when using footnotes, so it is best to ask your instructor what format he/she would like you to follow.

However, if your instructor has no preference, you may follow these guidelines from the 6th edition of the MLA Handbook:

  • Begin footnotes four lines (two double-spaced lines) below the main text.
     
  • Footnotes are single-spaced with a first-line indent.
     
  • Each footnote is indented five spaces; subsequent lines are flush with the left margin.
     
  • Place a period and a space after each footnote number. Provide the appropriate note after the space.

Courtesy of Purdue OWL

MLA Handbook

For a more detailed explanation of the rules surrounding endnotes and footnotes, consult the MLA Handbook, section 6.5: