How to Do Footnotes for Books

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You must note your sources somewhere in your paper.

When you write a paper, book or any other document, it is important to note your sources in your work. This attributes the work to its source and prevents you from plagiarizing someone else. You cannot simply mention the title of the book or name of the author, however, and continue on with your work. You must provide enough information to allow your readers to locate the source themselves. Therefore, you must include all of the book's information in your footnotes.


    • 1

      Paraphrase the information from your source or quote it directly using quotation marks to indicate the words are not your own.

    • 2

      Place a superscript number after the information obtained from your source. This number should be located after any punctuation, except for dashes and parentheses. Begin with 1 and continue as necessary on the page. If you are making footnotes on each page, start over with 1 on each page.

    • 3

      Create a list of your footnotes at the bottom of each page. Number the list and match each source to the corresponding information in the body of your paper. Include all of the information your readers need to find it.

    • 4

      Begin each footnote with the name of the author of the book. Always place the last name first. List all authors up to three. If there are four or more, list only the first author and follow with "et al."

    • 5

      Write the title of the book next. Book titles should be in italics or underlined, depending on your preferred format.

    • 6

      Place the publishing information in parentheses next. Write the place of publication followed by a colon. Then include the name of the publisher, a comma and the year the book was published.

    • 7

      Write the page numbers where you found the specific information you referenced in your paper. This can be one page or a range of pages and helps your readers find the original information in the book.

Tips & Warnings

  • The second time you use a source in your paper, you must only write the author's last name and the page numbers used in your footnote. If you use more than one source by a particular author, include the book title as well.

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