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Help! I Need Help! > English Help! How do I cite a footnote?

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Brittomart Hey! How do I cite a footnote using MLA?


Brittomart Wait, I don't need to make footnotes, but I'm citing footnotes in the book I'm citing from...


message 4: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 04, 2011 08:17PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments It depends.

If you're citing a piece of information or quote that one book has gotten from another, you repeat the full citation for the original source, then add "cited in," and footnote the source from which you are actually working:

Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (New York: Random House, 1918) 17, cited [or "quoted" if a direct quote of Freud] in Warren Williams, A Student's Guide to Psychology (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990) 89.


If you are citing a piece of information contained in a long discursive footnote such as you find in many academic books, just use a standard footnote format in your paper, mention the page number on which the information appears, and after the page number, write the number of the footnote from the book you are citing, e.g., "489, note 37."

Warren Williams, A Student's Guide to Psychology (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990) 489, note 37.


Does this make sense? Or am I not understanding the question?


message 5: by Brittomart (last edited Feb 04, 2011 08:02PM) (new)

Brittomart Okay, I'm just so confused. You're addressing my question, but I just don't understand it.


Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments What specific information are you citing and from what book?


message 7: by Brittomart (last edited Feb 04, 2011 08:23PM) (new)

Brittomart Okay, I'm using information that I wouldn't have known otherwise if I hadn't read the footnote. Like, I wouldn't have understood the meaning of a line if I didn't have the foot, so I want to cite that.

And I'm citing from The Institutes of the Christian Religion Volume 1 by Jean Calvin.


Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments But what specifically does the footnote say?

Is it an explanatory sentence?

Or is it a reference/citation to another source?


Brittomart It's a reference/citation to another source.


message 10: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 04, 2011 08:35PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments Okay. Excellent. Now, another question: is the footnote part of John Calvin's original text, or is it a footnote added by the editor of a scholarly edition of The Institutes?


Brittomart it's added by the editor of a scholarly edition


Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments Very good. Now one final question--and I mention this just because it's Calvin--is this by any chance a Bible reference? If it is, then there's a slightly different convention for scriptural citations as opposed to citations to other types of books.


message 13: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (MrsNolte) | 17266 comments Mod
Wow, Jonathan. Look at you go!


Félix (habitseven) I'm in awe.


Brittomart you know what, I have a question about that too 'cause I paraphrase and I'm like, "he quotes proverbs such and such in order to do whatever." How do I cite that?

But the one I have the original question about...hmm it's kinda a biblical reference, but the footnote doesn't say anything about that.


message 16: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 04, 2011 08:53PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments Let's stick with the original question for now. If it's not too much trouble, could you just type out the full footnote as written in your edition of The Institutes? Then I can give you a definitive answer about what you should do as far as your own citation goes.


Brittomart "Nec iam regnum ille sed latrocinium exercet." An echo of Augustine's famous phrase: "When justice is taken away, what are kingdoms [regna] but a vast banditry [magna latrocinia]?" City of God IV. iv (MPL 41. 115; tr. NPNF II. 66.).


message 18: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 04, 2011 09:07PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments Okay. Since Augustine is a standard text, you don't need specific edition information in this instance for City of God, but you do for the version of The Institutes that you are using. Your footnote should look like this:

Augustine of Hippo, City of God, IV, iv, qtd. in Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. John Allen, ed. Benjamin Warfield and Thomas Pears (Philadelphia: Allen & Unwin, 1916) I, 347, note 76.

Obviously, all of the relevant information I've given here for translator's name, editor's name, publisher, place of publication, page number, and note number has to be changed to suit the specific edition that you are using.


Brittomart So I must add a footnote in my paper? And what about parenthetical documentation?


Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments You have to do one or the other. And the choice should reflect your professor's preference, not yours. The format that I'm showing above is for a footnote reference, which is generally preferred in the humanities, but if your professor says to use parenthetic documentation, then you absolutely should use it.


Brittomart Well, he didn't specify, so how would I do both?


message 22: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 04, 2011 09:24PM) (new)

Jonathan Lopez | 4728 comments Use one or the other. Absolutely do not use both. Given the complexity of the citation, I would strongly recommend footnotes.

That said, even if you are using footnotes for your scholarly citations, simple scriptural references, by convention, go in the body of the text.

When Calvin refers to Paul the apostle's conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 26: 12-18), he draws a consistent distinction between the blinding apparition of the Lord and...


So, my opinion, for what it's worth: use footnotes or endnotes for your paper--with the exception of simple scriptural references, i.e., chapter and verse, which go in the body of the text.


Brittomart okay. Thanks, Jonathan!


Raymond | 1 comments WELL DONE JONATHAN!!


amber (neverling) | 8 comments I've got a related quandary-- I want to cite a footnote, but not within a separate footnote. I am writing using the MLA format, and want to cite a footnote using only a parenthetical citation and corresponding Works Cited entry-- what should the Works Cited entry look like?

Relevant info:

The footnote is in a work in an anthology.
The footnote was written by one of the editors-- whereas the piece to which it relates is by T.S. Eliot ("the Wasteland).

The text does not specify which editor is responsible for the information I wish to cite. There are six editors total, and no specified general editor.


Amelia *Rethinks the idea of going back to school...*


Phil | 11390 comments ::waits for Jonathan to show up with the answer::


Amelia Ha!

Where is Jonathan lately?


amber (neverling) | 8 comments :) Amelia, your train of thought is exquisite.


Félix (habitseven) Who is this Amber here?


Jammies A new amber, not Geekber.


Félix (habitseven) Ah.


message 33: by amber (last edited Nov 24, 2012 10:19AM) (new)

amber (neverling) | 8 comments But you can call me "flower" if you want to... :)

(I really like the sound of this "Geekber.")


Félix (habitseven) Welcome "flower"/Amber.


Jammies amber wrote: "But you can call me "flower" if you want to... :)

(I really like the sound of this "Geekber.")"


Welcome to TC! Are you a cute little black & white kitty with a stripe down your back? :D


amber (neverling) | 8 comments According to some people, yes! I purr a lot if you pet my hair, and am alternately spastic-energetic and simply sleepy in quick succession. So we'll go with that. Thanks for the welcome! Hope no one's allergic to cats...


Félix (habitseven) I am not.


Phil | 11390 comments amber wrote: "But you can call me "flower" if you want to... :)"

Now I have to call you Bambi.


Amelia How come Thumper gets no love?


Susan | 6383 comments Thumper was my favorite. Those cheeks....so cusch!


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