The UVic Writer's Guide


Footnotes are a necessary nuisance. Do not multiply them in the mistaken belief that many footnotes will impress your instructor. Generally a footnote is needed only when you need to discuss something more fully than the major argument of the essay allows.

Until fairly recently, footnotes were used to give references to quotations and other material in the essay, and you will find many secondary sources that use this technique. Some journals still require that footnotes be used; if you need information on the correct format of footnotes as citations, refer to such reference works as the University of Chicago Press's Manual of Style and Trent University's Notes on the Preparation of Essays in the Arts and Sciences.

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Copyright, The Department of English, The University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 22, 1995