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Footnotes and Endnotes

In the MHRA system, references to sources used in your work are set out in full in notes, either at the bottom of each page (footnotes) or at the end of the piece of work (endnotes). In a book-length piece, you should start a new series of notes (i.e. start numbering from 1) with each chapter.

Every time the ideas, facts or opinions of another are used in a piece of work this must be acknowledged with a full reference. Whether a source is quoted directly or indirectly, paraphrased or summarised, it must be acknowledged with a footnote or endnote. To do otherwise is plagiarism.

Notes should include the minimum information necessary for a reader to find and consult your source. Other material should, as far as possible, be included in the text. Footnotes should never be used as a means of getting round word limits by including information or argument in them that should be in the main text. It should be possible to read the entire piece of work without having to refer to a footnote for anything other than references. In most cases, word limits for essays include footnotes and bibliographies.

Notes should be numbered sequentially (1,2,3 etc). Do not use the same number more than once in a series, even if you are referring to exactly the same passage in the same text which you have already referenced.

Footnote or endnote numbers in the text should follow punctuation, and preferably be placed at the end of a sentence. When citing the source for a quotation, the number should be placed at the end of the quotation and not after the author's name if that appears first in the text. If you do place a note in the middle of a sentence, for example at the end of a quotation, the number should always come before a dash.

Notes should always end with a full stop.


It has long been argued that pork and leek sausages are better than pork and apple.1 However, Neville has recently produced conclusive evidence to the contrary.2

1 John Butcher, The Perfect Sausage: From Pigsty to Plate (Cumberland: Pork Press, 1990), pp. 78-90.

2 Harry Neville, Breakfast Bangers (London: Brown, 2005), pp. 56-98.

In his Sausages Are Not the Only Meat, Brown set out what has now become the standard definition of 'the perfect sausage'1 - though not without causing a degree of consternation among scholars.

1 James Brown, Sausages Are Not the Only Meat (Cumberland: Pork Press, 1995), pp. 60-78.