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How to Use Footnotes


Monday, May. 24th 2010

Footnote is a text or notation at the bottom of a page in a document or at the end of a book. A footnote is mostly flagged through a superscript number, following sentences. If it is difficult to manage superscript, these numbers can mention in parentheses. These footnotes’ numbers refer to the citation entry at the bottom of the page or at the place where the footnote appears. These footnotes either comment on the main text or quote the citation point of the text.

Most people don’t know that how to use footnotes, appropriately. They use them but due to inappropriate orientation these footnotes are useless for them. All of their efforts to collect, locate and write them in their document are waned, if they use them incorrectly.

Before discussing their format, first find out what do they mean? Footnotes are basically an alternative to long explanatory notes. They are short and don’t distract readers’ attention. These act as a reference mark that helps the reader to find the source from where the information is taken, either it’s borrowed, summarized or paraphrased.

Now, it is also important to mention here, that footnotes are not needed in any sentence; they should place on those sentences in which noteworthy information is written. E.g. you should use them when you took a quotation from any other document or when you referred to someone’s research or when you want to clarify a point but not in main text or when you want to mention any assistance received.

A comprehensive footnote includes author’s name, book or magazine name or name of anything from which the quote is taken, date of publication, publisher, edition etc. Another important thing to be considered is the format of your footnote or citation. There are many literary styles in this context but most of the times MLA and APA are recommended. One can consider any of these references style in citation, according to the topic, but be careful for the appropriate formatting.

Now, hopefully you have understood how to use footnotes. If it is done appropriately, they will give clear information regarding the exact source of information.

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Related posts:

  1. MLA Writing Format
  2. APA Writing Format
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  5. Anti-plagiarism Rules and Policies in Schools
  6. How to Write a Term Paper – Teacher’s Perspective


Posted by Janele Frederick | in Writing Tips

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