How to Write Footnotes in Assignment Properly?

How to Write Footnotes

A footnote is a citation at the bottom of a page in academic writing that provides additional information and references for specific points made in the main text. 

What is a footnote?

A footnote is several different and even contradictory things. Confusing, isn’t it? No worries, we are here to help you understand what it actually is!

Barely speaking, a footnote is a form of citation used in academic writing to provide additional information, explanations, or references for specific points made in the main text. Footnotes are typically placed at the bottom of the page, allowing readers to access the sources related to the discussed content.

Here’s what a typical footnote in paper looks like:

Author’s Name, “Title of the Source” (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), page number(s).

Footnotes work by providing additional context and explanations. They allow writers to expand on certain points and provide sources for claims or evidence. They also enable authors to write an assignment without plagiarism, which is essential in any academic paper.

The purposes of footnotes in academic writing are as follows:

  1. Footnotes are used to credit the original authors or sources of ideas, facts, or quotations in the main text.
  2. They allow writers to provide supplementary details or explanations relevant to the main text.
  3. By including footnotes, writers demonstrate the credibility and verification of their arguments and research.
  4. Footnotes can provide additional reading material, references to related works, or further discussion.

Footnotes vs. Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes are used in academic writing to provide additional information, citations, or references. The main difference lies in their placement within the document.



Placed at the bottom of the page, below the main text. Placed at the end of a document or chapter rather than at the bottom of each page.
Provide immediate access to the additional information or citation within the page’s context Numbered or marked with superscript numbers or symbols within the main text.
Can be read without interrupting the flow of the main text since the reader can simply glance down to the bottom of the page for the relevant information. Purpose is to keep the main text less cluttered and visually cleaner, as the additional information is not directly visible on the same page.

Choosing between footnotes and endnotes depends on factors such as personal preference, citation style guidelines, and the specific requirements of the writing project.

Using Footnotes

As we already discussed, footnotes are used in academic writing for various purposes. You should use a footnote when:

  • You cite the sources. 

Footnotes are commonly used to provide citations for sources referenced in the main text. It includes citing books, articles, websites, or other material to support your arguments or provide evidence.

  • The academic essay requires explanations or clarifications.

Footnotes can be used to expand upon a point made in the main text by providing further explanations, definitions, or clarifications.

  • You clarify the credits.

When you use additional sources, such as photos, podcasts, video clips, and other media, it is better to clarify the credit.

  • You are referencing conflicting viewpoints or proving your position.

In some cases, footnotes can present alternative viewpoints or conflicting evidence related to the main argument.

How to Make Footnotes?

If you are wondering how to make a footnote, Assignment Bro is here to help!

The information given in a footnote includes:

  • the author;
  • the title;
  • the place of publication;
  • the publisher;
  • the date of publication;
  • the page or pages on which the quotation/information is found.

For example: Grafton, Anthony. “The Footnote: A Curious History.” New York: Harvard University Press, 1997, Google Books.

And if you need any help, AssignmentBro is here to help with our citation generators. Trust us, it is easier to write footnotes in an assignment than you thought it was!

Different Categories of Footnotes

To understand how to write footnotes in assignment, you should define types of footnotes. There are two categories:

  • Content footnotes offer additional details regarding the concepts and subjects you cover in your essay’s body. They are used to make a bibliography.
  • Copyright permission footnotes show that you have permission from the publisher or the original source to use certain quotations or passages of text.

Footnotes also differ depending on the style you are writing in. That’s why it is important to clarify the academic requirements your institution gave you.

APA, MLA, Chicago: How Each Style Formats Footnotes

You should carefully choose a footnote format to go with the style of the document you are provided with. Reference in the assignment is an important aspect that can save your mark. That’s why knowing how to write footnotes in different styles is better.

For instance, if you use The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), footnotes serve for citation purposes. At the same time, the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) generally rely on them to provide additional information.

Let’s discuss how to correctly create footnote citation:


APA footnotes can be for either content or copyright permission footnotes. The APA footnotes include the following details:

  • an attributive tag;
  • name of the work cited in the text;
  • author of the work cited in the text;
  • publication year of the work cited in the text.

Example: *1 . The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald, F. S (1925).


MLA footnotes require to start with the superscript number that corresponds with:

  • Author’s Name;
  • Title of Work in Quotes;
  • City;
  • Publisher;
  • Year;
  • Page Number.

Example: *1 Lee, Harper. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1960. p. 27.


In footnotes in Chicago style, next information should be included:

  • Author;
  • Title of the Book (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication);
  • Page number(s).

Example: *1 J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1951), 56.

Correct Footnoting Rules

Proper footnotes are important and may bring additional points to your academic writing assignment.

We already talked about what should be included in the footnote. But how should they be formatted?

Here is the recommended formatting:

  • Use Times New Roman font, size 12.
  • Indent the first line of each footnote in one tab space.
  • Single-space your footnotes, but add a space between each one.
  • Add a period behind the numbers that start the footnotes.
  • Change the numbering format in the footnotes so that the numbers are not in superscript.

Footnoting Examples

Although many types of paper footnotes may vary, we want to give you a few samples so you can learn how to cite properly.

Joseph P. Swain, The Broadway Musical: A Critical and Musical Survey (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 136.

1 Totem and Tabo. Sigmund Freud, (1918) 26.

Whether you need help or just want to check your footnote, AssignmentBro provides reliable help to boost your project!

Learn More

It is never too late to learn more! Here are some trustworthy sources to learn about footnotes:

  1. Footnotes and Endnotes, Trent University;
  2. Footnote – Referencing Guide, Murdoch University;
  3. The norms of citation behavior: Prolegomena to the footnote”, Norman Kaplan.

Summing Up

A footnote is a form of citation, typically placed at the bottom of the page and used when citing sources, providing explanations, clarifying credits, referencing conflicting or presenting alternative viewpoints related to the main argument.

It is important to follow the guidelines provided by your institution or the specific citation style you are using, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, etc., and define types of footnotes: content or copyright permission.

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