In-Text Citations, Endnotes or Footnotes:
How to Cite a Direct Reference
In the Humanities

A. What to include in your citations:

a. Any material you directly quote
b. Any material you have directly paraphrased but not necessarily quoted

B. A citation refers to a specific quote or paraphrased idea that you have borrowed from another author.

Citations are made in addition to a general bibliography.

There are many ways to do a citation. I don't care which style you use, as long as it is consistent and I can use it to find a reference. Here are two common formats:



Style 1: MLA Style

The easiest citation format is suitable for essays that have only a few sources. After each quote or specific paraphrase, simply put the author's name and page number of the reference in brackets at the end of the quote:


  • "... and maintained his allegiance to the Crown" (Smith 456).
    • There's usually no end punctuation used from the quote, unless it's a question mark.
    • The last name of the author is given. Do not use an editor's name unless you lack a specific author.
    • The page number of the author's article/book is also given.
    • The end punctuation comes after the bracket, and all original periods, exclamation marks, and commas should be excluded. The exception is the question mark [?], which should remain inside the quotation mark if it's in the original.


Any reference to the same author's article immediately after the first quote is treated this way:

  • "... his reputation was ambiguous" (ibid).

If the next reference is to the same author's article but with a different page, you cite the quote this way:

  • "... but he was not going to sit " (ibid 462-463) and allow the enemy to win.

If a new author comes in between any of these references, you have to go back to the last name and page number again. "Ibid" only refers to the author immediately preceding it.

For an essay or major project, it is essential that you have a bibliography at the end so the reader will know which article or book the author has written.



Style 2: Chicago Style

A more formal citation format is suitable for essays that have many different sources. This form of citation involves a superscript number after the quote, and a formal citation similar to a bibliographical entry. This citation may go on the bottom of the page (i.e. a footnote) or on a separate page after the essay but before the bibliography (i.e. an endnote). I find that an endnote page is easier than footnotes, but if you want to try the latter, be my guest!

So, at the "end of a quote"2, make a superscript number (or a number in brackets) and create a citation like this:

[Book/One Author]

gggg2 G. Mary Smith, Fun With Writing Essays: The Secret of Making Excellent Essays and Reports. (New York: Times, 2000) 245-246.


[Article in Journal]

gggg2Brian Williams, "Constitutional Reform or Silence?" Canadian Political Debate. (5, 2) 37.


[Article in Book]

gggg2Susan Bellows, "Can We Trust the Parliament?" in The Canadian Political Reader. (Toronto: Random House, 2000) 245.

As you can see, the format is somewhat streamlined compared to a bibliography, and you also indent the first line (rather than the second line) and add the specific page number at the end. You can use "ibid" like above.