Footnotes are those notes within your text with symbols above that additional information on that phrase is at the end of the paper. They are added at the end of a sentence within the text with a number or some other symbol above the sentence to not break the text’s structure.

The footnotes at the end of a sentence corresponding to the sources that are shown in detail at the end of the paper.

But enough with its definition here’s an example of what it looks like in real life.

Plagiarism happens when you present someone else’s work as your own without giving authority to the original creator. It is also known as intellectual theft, which can be intentional and accidental.”

What is their purpose?

The primary purpose of footnotes is to cite the material from which it was derived in such a way through symbols that the structure of the text is not destroyed.

When you click on the symbol at the end of the sentence, it sends you to the details of the material taken; this is used, as we said, so as not to spoil the structure of your paper by citing sources in the text.

To be correct with the use of footnotes, you must know these two purposes:

What should you include in the footnotes?

The footnote is almost the same in content as the bibliography. But the use of a footnote has a shorter vision and consists of the following:

A footnote consists of
A footnote consists of

All this information should be noted at the bottom of the page where the number of that source corresponds to the footnote placed at the end of the sentence within the text.

When can we use footnotes?

Footnotes are used to provide additional detailed information about a source.

The flow of information when using footnotes does not break the structure of the text. 

It is a good way for the reader to avoid being interrupted about a topic and to see the source information later at the end of the article.

But in reality, we can only use footnotes in some styles; each style format has some rules. We will mention the types and their practices around the footnotes.

Citation styles:

APA Style

Actually, in APA style, using footnotes is not allowed because it is considered a time cost for the publisher to reproduce them. If you really must use footnotes in APA style, then this style offers two ways to detail your source.

In this type of style, you are allowed to use footnotes only for two purposes: content and copyright.

Also, footnote numbers in this style should not be followed by hyphens, but the number should be included if a quote has brackets.

MLA Style

It allows the use of footnotes, but they are not often used. MLA style needs to support more extensive and detailed explanations.

But it allows the use of endnotes and footnotes for bibliographic notes to give the reader deeper information.

The MLA style also has some rules on the use of footnotes, such as: 

After a sentence that has punctuation marks, the footnote number must be placed after the specific punctuation mark.

But if the sentence has a hyphen, the footnote number must be included before the hyphen.

Chicago Style

In this type of style, the footnotes have their role strictly as it was intended. Here it is allowed to use footnotes for citations of sources in a broad and detailed description, different from the two styles above. 

This style is also the most used format for footnotes because it includes the full citation as a footnote.

The form of citation through footnotes in Chicago style follows this form: Name and surname of the author, title in italic style, place of publication, publisher and year, page number (if any, if it is a book, encyclopedia, or magazine ).

The Harvard System

Using the Harvard system in our works is not allowed if we use footnotes here. Citations must be in-text and include the author’s name, date, and page number (if applicable).

 The paper’s bibliography should include more detailed notes on this system.

The Oxford System

In the Oxford system, footnotes are allowed, through which a complete and detailed citation of the source is made. But if we use footnotes, then the paper’s bibliography is unnecessary (in this case, you should consult your professor).

In this system, all the details for a source included in the bibliography must be included in the citation, so it is unnecessary to use both.

Most common citation styles
Most common citation styles

The importance of footnotes

Footnotes provide information about the source that is unnecessary to be included within the text in order not to break its structure. 

It is essential to know them because they document your work. After all, it is necessary to see the work of others that contributed to it. 

It is essential to include questions in the process of writing an essay or paper; their inclusion should be done at the end to show detailed information so that your report is not considered plagiarism and be reliable.

Difference between footnotes and bibliography

Footnotes and bibliography almost have the same purpose, but they fundamentally differ. 

Footnotes contain information about a quoted part – only for the phrase that had to be included in the text. They are often referred to as bibliographic footnotes because they direct readers to the source used in your paper if they want a deeper look at that source.

The bibliography, however, is a more profound case and is the last part that is included in the work. Through the bibliography, a summary is made not only of the sources used in the paper but also of the sources that have generated/contributed to your ideas. This type of summary, through the bibliography, gives readers an overview of reliable references they can use for their work and for expanding ideas.

So, in essence, both provide information about a specific phrase in the paper, except that the bibliography has a more in-depth description and is documentation in itself.


So, we understood through this blog that footnotes are additional information on the citation of a source. Use footnotes but always with helpful information to have a good performance in your writing and be well structured. 

The content of information that is useful for quoting your phrases included in the paper is good to write at the end of the article. When you create footnotes, remember that the information should be valuable and good resources for your reader. 

If we include redundant or useless information, the reader can be focused on the primary purpose that you have written in your blog.

You must know how to use footnotes through the styles mentioned above and follow the style rules.

Use footnotes only in the styles that allow them, in the format, and with the appropriate information.