Integrating Quotations | Part 2 (CMS)


Once you’re familiar with how to introduce a quotation using a signal phrase, you’re ready to learn the more advanced rules on this page. You don’t have to memorize every rule, but try get a general sense of things and then consult specific sections when you have questions.

Additional Rules

Block Quotations

According to the official Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), passages longer than a paragraph need to be set off as a block quotation. However, for users of Turabian style (the student friendly version of CMS) the minimum length is much less: passages of five or more lines can be turned into a block quotation.

Here’s an example of properly formatted block quotation:

Annabel Spotchek argues that

The invention of sliced bread made life considerably easier for early twenty-century men and women. However, not a few male writers blamed sliced bread for an increase in feminism. They argued that freed from the drudgery of cutting bread, women were able to take up the cause for universal suffrage and start working in factories. Such men were happy to acknowledge that sliced bread had brought some improvements (particularly in the toasted sandwich department), but they felt that the new technology was responsible for a significant deterioration in their quality of life. (Spotchek, Sliced Bread [New York: Loafer Publishing, 1999], 44)

While Spotchek correctly notes the importance of sliced bread, she ignores …

Note the following rules:

  • Single space block quotations, but leave a space before and after
  • Indent the entire block quotation one tab space
  • Retain original paragraph indents, except for the first paragraph.
  • After the block quote, don’t indent your next line unless you actually intend to start a new paragraph.
  • The citation is usually added in parentheses rather than in a note.

As mentioned, most of the time you can integrate a block quotation just like a regular quotation. Do be cautious, however, about continuing your sentence after a longer passage.

Finally, if you introduce your quotation with a complete sentence, then you can use a period instead of a colon (unless you’re using an introductory phrase such as as follows).

Quoting Poetry

Here are the essential rules for quoting poetry.

If you’re quoting two or more lines of poetry (three or more in a footnote), use a block quotation:

In “The Fly,” Ogden Nash mixes humour with theology:

God in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.

The citation is usually placed on its own line, though you can decide where. You can also insert an extra line between the poem and the citation.

For poems with lines of regular length, the text should be left aligned (indented one tab space). If a poem has irregular spacing then you are allowed to centre the text (based on the longest line):

One wonders whether Ella Pencil’s poem “Spaced Out” parodies itself:

This is yet                another poem that
relies on            unu-
spacing to make
an impression.


As much as possible, however, try to retain the original formatting of the poem. If a poem contains very long lines, you can indent a run-over line slightly (less than a tab):

Finally, if you do decide to integrate longer quotations in the body of your text, use a slash (/) to indicate each line break:

In “The Fly,” Ogden Nash mixes humour with theology: “God in His wisdom made the fly / And then forgot to tell us why” (1-2).

For stanzaic breaks, use a double slash ( // ), with spaces on either side.

Quoting Drama

When you quote a passage from a play, distinguish the names of the speakers by, for instance, using all caps:

In David Baird’s play Broken Glass, the leaders of the main political parties are divided about how to stem the tide of illegal immigrants from the Vatican:

PRIME MINISTER GATTUSO. We cannot allow any more of these robed people into our country.
ANDREA PEERLESS, wiping his brow. I can’t accept such a heartless …
PRIME MINISTER GATTUSO. heartless? It’s simply a matter of restoring order. We cannot have these people parading through the streets in their funny costumes.

Use italics for stage directions. Note also that in a print format you can apply hanging indentation to each speaker’s lines.

Citations of plays are usually by act, scene, and line number.

Quotes within Quotes

A quote within a quote is placed between single quotation marks:

My friend Natasha told me about a conversation she had with Nibaa after their American lit class: “The other day, Nibaa said, ‘I don’t understand why Moby-Dick is a classic. Much of it reads like a manual on how to run a ship.'”

In the unusual event that you’re dealing with a quote within a quote within a quote, you would revert back to double quotation marks.

If you’re not quoting anything more than the entire quote within a quote, then just use double quotation marks:

Natasha told me what her friend Nibaa had to say about Moby-Dick: “I don’t understand why Moby-Dick is a classic. Much of it reads like a manual on how to run a ship.”

Adding Emphasis

It may happen that you want to emphasize something in a quotation. To do so, italicize the words in question, and then add a phrase such as “emphasis added,” either in a parenthetical citation or in a footnote:

Birnwick and Flintstone noted that “most of the penguins who watched Madagascar or Happy Feet showed little reaction to scenes that involved penguins dancing” (95; emphasis added).

Alternative phrases are “italics mine,” “italics added,” and “emphasis mine.” Users of Turabian style should note that such a phrase may also be added in square brackets within the quotation (right after the italicized passage).

Most of the time, though, you don’t need to add any emphasis. Assume that your reader is smart enough to figure out what’s significant about the quotation.


Sometimes when you quote you may want to skip part of the quotation.

To indicate the omission of words, phrases, or entire lines, you must use an ellipsis (plural ellipses), which is just a fancy word for three spaced periods. Here’s an example:

Simeon Winchester studied the 1500 meter race in Oslo in 1981, and argued that “people love to see the pacemaker succeed . . . against all odds.”1

If it fits the syntax, feel free to retain original punctuation such as commas, colons, and question marks before or after the ellipsis.

If you indent a longer quotation of poetry and you skip one or more lines, use a line of dots (roughly the length of the typical line) between the quoted passages:

In the “The Lady of Shalott,” Tennyson appears to allude to the shadows in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave:

And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

(46-48, 71-72)

Be careful that when you use an ellipses the grammar and meaning of the quoted passage still make sense.

Also, you do not have to add ellipsis marks at the beginning or end of a quotation. We know that the quoted text has been cut out of a larger passage. The only exception is if a sentence trails off on purpose (for dramatic effect).

If you end one sentence before the ellipsis, and start a new one afterwards, then you will end up with four spaced periods (one regular period and three for the ellipsis). Here is an example:

Computer programmers “read on average one book per year. . . . They get most of their knowledge from watching Youtube videos.”1

Square Brackets

You can edit quotations by inserting your own words in square brackets.  Here are some areas where this is useful:

1. When you want to clarify or explain something in the original passage

A recent study by Abel Williams and Cain Jones found that “even when participants knew that a name brand item was of the same quality or worse [than similar non-brand products], such knowledge did not significantly affect purchasing behaviour.”1

2. When you want to insert some words to make the grammar work:

Sniggle and Popper claim that the story of “Sleeping Beauty provide[s] a powerful analogy to a person in a coma.”1

Do note, however, that in CMS style you do not have to use square brackets to change the first letter of a quotation from lowercase to uppercase, or vice versa.

3. If there’s a mistake in the quotation (let’s say a spelling error), you can insert [sic] behind it to indicate that the mistake belongs to the original author of the quotation:

According to Bert Rottweiler, “Carl Jang’s [Sic] theory of the anima and animus can be explained by means of the concept of yin and yang.”1

If you’re following Turabian style you can fix the spelling without noting the mistake. You can also avoid coming across as pedantic by rewriting slightly:

Bert Rottweiler argues that Carl Jung’s use of the terms anima and animus “can be explained by means of the concept of yin and yang.”1

In other words, try to minimize the use of square brackets.


A paraphrase is when you sum up a passage in your own words and provide an appropriate citation. Quotations take up a lot of space, so paraphrases can be a useful way of incorporating the ideas of others.

Let’s say you want to paraphrase the following passage (found online on Adler University’s website):

Perhaps Adler’s most influential concept – and the one that drives Adler University today – is that of social interest. Not to be confused as another form of extraversion, social interest should be viewed as an individual’s personal interest in furthering the welfare of others. Collaborating and cooperating with one another as individuals and communities can progress to benefit society as a whole.

Here’s how you might paraphrase part of this passage:

Alfred Adler’s most important contribution was his emphasis on a person’s social interest.1

Be careful that you don’t use entire phrases from the original text. This is how not to do it:

Adler’s concept of social interest is not another form of extraversion, but refers to a person’s interest in further other people’s welfare.1

When too many specific words or phrases are copied directly from the original passage, you may be guilty of plagiarism, even when you have cited your source.

Final Advice

It’s always important to remember why you are using quotations in the first place. An essay is not just a patchwork of quotations. Think of yourself more as a curator at a museum. You get to put on a show and tell a story. You organize the spaces and write the captions. In the same way you need to help the reader make sense of the ideas of others.

So don’t let the quotations swamp your own analysis. Introduce every quotation carefully and be sure to explain, interpret, and apply quotations before you move on with your argument.

For more information about the CMS guidelines for integrating quotations, see especially chapter 13 of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), and chapter 25 of Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (9th ed.).

Integrating Quotations | Part 1 (CMS)


If you want to see dramatic improvement in your writing, then focus on integrating quotations. It’s an area where many people struggle. Whereas in ordinary speech we easily introduce the words of others (he said; she was like), it somehow seems more difficult in writing. That’s why learning the rules is time well spent.

In fact, being able to integrate quotations will give you the confidence to interact with the ideas of others, to be part of a larger discussion. Quoting is not just about referencing a few lines of text that seem vaguely relevant. It’s about having a conversation.

On this page we’ll cover the basics of integrating quotations. All examples follow Chicago Style rules.

The Basics

The parts of a quotation

In academic writing, nearly every quotation is made up of three parts: a signal phrase, the quote itself, and some kind of citation:

Signal Phrase + Quote + Citation

Example: As Kurt Ramble has argued, “Urban farming should be incorporated in the elementary school curriculum.”1

The signal phrase consists of your own words that signal to the reader that there’s a quotation coming.

The quotation can be long or short. If it’s quite long then it may have to be formatted differently as a block quotation.

As for the citation, in this guide we will be using footnotes, but you could use parentheses if you’re following MLA or APA conventions. The footnote number is usually placed at the end of the relevant clause or sentence.

Now that we know the three basic parts of a quotation, we can zoom in a little more. Most quotations share the following details.

This graphic shows the main parts of a quotation using Chicago Manual of Style rules

The bibliographic information should generally be included in the footnote. Note that you do not have to mention the author’s name in your signal phrase:

Drinking a can of coke has an immediate effect on the body: “Because you have just swallowed your entire daily intake of sugar, your liver goes into overdrive and turns sugar into fat.”1

Finally, you can mention the title of a source in your text, but try do so mostly if the title is directly relevant to your argument or if you are using multiple works by the same author.

Types of Signal Phrases

Quotations are categorized by the way they are introduced, and there are three different signal phrases.

The short expression

One of the easiest ways to introduce a quotation is to announce who the speaker or author is and to add a verb that describes the way in which the idea is expressed:

As Jonathan Truculent once observed, “The best part of the pizza is the crust.”1

As Iris Evans suggested, “Cell phones and tablets have increasingly overlapping capabilities.”1

There are plenty of other verbs that work equally well (usually in the present tense):

argues, believes, notes, states, implies, observes, writes, etc.

Note that many of these constructions are introduced by the conjunction as:

As Smith argues …

Now it should be pointed out that your signal phrase can include quite a bit more than the author and the verb. Here are some instances where the “short expression” is not all that short:

As Imagen Randolph suggested, in a salacious memoir that caused quite a scandal, “There was always inappropriate behaviour at his parties.”1

Connelly mentions the contrary opinion of Judge Gavel, who writes, “No jury should convict on those grounds.”1

It was George Fandangle (1882), the nineteenth-century antiquarian, who famously wrote about the Greek philosopher Stroumboulopoulos, “Just like the popular culture he analyzed, he is now mostly forgotten.”1

Notice, however, that at the core of these signal phrases we still have the author and the verb. In all such cases we can use a comma between the signal phrase and the quotation.

Checklist for the short expression:

  • Does your signal phrase include at least a subject and a verb (e.g., He suggests?)
  • Does your signal phrase end with a comma?
  • If your quotation started at the beginning of a sentence in your source, have you kept the capital?
  • Is the quotation a complete sentence?
  • Have you added a proper citation (usually a footnote)?

The formal introduction

Next, we have a more stately way to introduce quotations. The formal introduction consists of an independent clause that typically makes a claim about the quotation that follows. The quotation then acts as proof or evidence of the signal phrase:

Godfrey Boggart, on the other hand, claims that opera is a dead art form: “While classic operas like Carmen or The Magic Flute are still being performed, most new operas receive little public attention and are in any case overshadowed by musicals.”1

Note that the formal introduction does not need to have a verb of expression (writes, believes, argues, etc.). It just needs to be a complete sentence that allows us to make sense of the quotation.

In addition, just as with the short expression, the quotation is usually a complete sentence too. The one exception is if the quotation is an appositive phrase:

To describe the reasoning of toddlers, child psychologist Martin Frost coined a humorous portmanteau word: “toddlerlogical.”1

If you find this an awkward construction, then just use the next method of integrating quotations: the run-in quotation.

Checklist for the formal introduction:

  • Are both the quotation and your introduction complete sentences? (exception: the quotation is an appositive noun)
  • Does your quotation start with a capital?
  • Does your introductory phrase end with a colon?

The run-in quotation

Often you can combine your signal phrase with the quotation to form one complete sentence. In that case you don’t need any punctuation in between. You will have to be selective about which words you quote, as the transition needs to be seamless.

The transept “first became popular in Romanesque architecture, and it gave the basilica the appearance of a Latin cross.”1

Buchanan contends that “despite being the longest ice age, the Huronian era remains understudied.”1

Notice that the signal phrase may include the author and a verb of expression, but neither is essential. The key is that the signal phrase and the quotation need to be combined to form a complete sentence.

So there you have it: if you pick one of the three signal phrases you should have no trouble introducing your quotations.

Checklist for the run-in quotation:

  • Do your words combine with the quotation to form a complete sentence?
  • Have you left out all punctuation before the quotation?

Minor variants

Occasionally you may come across a quotation that has no signal phrase. It’s just sitting there, all by itself in the middle of a paragraph. Kind of sad really, as the reader may have no idea what to make of it. Our advice is to play it safe and always provide a signal phrase.

A more acceptable variant is where the order is flipped around, and the signal phrase comes afterwards:

“The high costs of drugs are as much an effect of government intervention as a by-product of free market capitalism,”1 writes economist Hugo X. Santana.

In such cases the signal phrase is usually a short expression (see above).

You can even place the signal phrase in the middle if you like:

“The high costs of drugs,” writes economist Santana, “are as much an effect of government intervention as a by-product of free market capitalism.”1

This way of integrating the quotation (placing the signal phrase later in the sentence) is of course much more common when the words are spoken rather than written down:

“I will shoot anyone who thinks gun control is unnecessary,” shouted Ella Pringle, at a rally in Utah.

Another acceptable variant is to introduce the quotation with a short prepositional phrase:

According to Virgil Cain, “Japanese gymnasts have managed to improve their elasticity by eating copious amounts of calamari.”1

Just make sure your signal phrase and the quotation form a complete sentence.

While you’re free to experiment, in academic prose it’s best to place your signal phrase before the quotation. Otherwise your reader won’t immediately know what to make of the quotation and has to wait for an explanation.

Continuing after the quotation.

You might be asking yourself, do I need to end every sentence right after the quotation? Can I extend the sentence?

Yes you can.

The only caution is that continuing after the quotation is best done when your signal phrase runs right into the quotation (see above) and when the quotation is relatively short. Here is an example:

Odysseus is “the man of twists and turns” (1.1), an apt description of both his character and his wanderings coming home from Troy.

This is also a great way to string together a number of shorter quotations:

Matilda Anderson, in a recent address to the Anthropophagy Society, argued for a “redefinition of cannibalism” so that the restaurant industry “might have a new source of protein.”1

If you feel uncomfortable about extending your sentence after the quotation, then just use a period and start a new sentence. Don’t fudge it by adding semi-colons.

Checklist for continuing on after the quotation:

  • Do your words combine with the quotation(s) to form a complete sentence?
  • Have you left out all punctuation before the quotation?
  • Have you put the parentheses immediately after each quotation?
  • Have you put punctuation after the parentheses as appropriate?


Now that know how to introduce a quotation with a signal phrase, check out part 2 of our guide on quoting to learn about all those finicky exceptions! Don’t worry though–with a bit of practice you’ll master the rules soon enough.

If you would like to print a version of this page, please download our handy Guide to Integrating Quotations Using the Chicago Manual of Style Rules.

CMS Essay Format


This is a quick tutorial for formatting your essay using Chicago style. Sometimes your teachers may have their own preferences, so do check with them if you have questions.

Note that many of these instructions are not found in the actual Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.). They’re included in Kate L. Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (9th ed.).

General Formatting Rules

Paper Layout

Essays are printed on standard 8.5 x 11 inch paper, which so happens to be the default size of a MS Word document.


Since 2007, the default margin for any Word document has been 1 inch all around. Fortunately, CMS format has the same minimum requirement. If for some reason you need to fix the margins, go to Page Layout > Margins > Normal.


The most common font is Times New Roman, size 12 (though Arial is allowed too). You are allowed to decrease the size for footnotes (e.g., size 10).


Most of your essay should be double-spaced. To make this change quickly, first press Ctrl + A to highlight all text and then press Home > Line and Paragraph Spacing (symbol) > 2.0. Make sure you also click on “Remove Space After Paragraph.”

However, there are a few places where single spacing is required:

  • Single space your footnotes, but do leave a space between them
  • Single space the entries in your bibliography, but leave a space between them
  • Single space all block quotations (but leave a space before and after)

You should also single space any table of contents as well as any captions/titles for tables and pictures.


Make sure the text of your essay is left-aligned. Look for these buttons in MS Word:

You might think that justified text looks better, but your instructor will likely disagree.


It is customary to indent your first paragraph (use the tab button). Subsequent paragraph breaks should also be shown by indents, and not by extra spacing between paragraphs.

To get rid of extra spacing, highlight the sentence before and after the paragraph break and press Home > Line and Paragraph Spacing (symbol) > Remove Space After Paragraph.


The header section only needs to include the page number. To insert page numbers, press Insert > Page Number > Top of Page > Plain Number 3.

However, as soon as you’ve done that, select the option “Different First Page” as well as Insert > Page Number > Format Page Numbers, and start the page numbering at 0. By doing these things you will ensure that the cover page is not included in the numbering.

Cover Page

CMS research papers typically require a cover page. While there is some variation in what can go on a title page, the most common elements are the title (a third of the way down, in bold, with key words capitalized), the student’s name, the course, and the date:

Note that all the text is double spaced. For subtitles, place a colon after the main title and start the subtitle on a separate line.

Footnotes and Bibliography

We’ve covered these topics elsewhere. Check out our detailed pages on formatting your footnotes and bibliography.

Footnotes and Endnotes


The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) recommends using footnotes or endnotes to cite your sources. Our primary focus will be on the rules for footnotes, but we will provide some guidance for endnotes as well.


Inserting Footnotes

Footnotes are normally inserted at the end of a sentence or clause. In MS Word, go to References > Insert Footnote.

Andrew Appleby notes that “shaving one’s arm pit hair is a surprisingly recent custom.”¹

Ada Lovelace is often credited with envisioning the computer;¹ less attention has been paid to her tumultuous personal life.

The only time a footnote number comes before the punctuation is if you’re using a dash. Note as well that you should never insert multiple footnotes right after each other.

Formatting Footnotes

One annoying feature about CMS is that it can be tricky to format your footnotes properly in Microsoft Word. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Use Times New Roman font, size 12.
  • Indent the first line of each footnote one tab space.
  • Single space your footnotes, but add a space between each one.
  • Add a period behind the numbers that start the footnotes.
  • Change the format of the numbering in the footnotes so that the numbers are not in superscript.

For help with these formatting rules, please watch the video above. Do note that in unpublished manuscripts you are allowed to use superscript in the notes (see section 14.24), so if you’re writing an essay for your teacher you don’t have to worry about the last style rule.

Basic Citations

When you cite a source in a footnote, the key elements (author, title, etc.) are separated by commas:

1. Jennifer Trip, “Conservative Politics and the Slippery Slope Argument,” Old Fashioned Quarterly 99, no. 1 (Winter 2017): 78.

By contrast, in your final bibliography you would use periods, invert the name, and either leave out the page or (for some citations) give the full page range:

Trip, Jennifer. “Conservative Politics and the Slippery Slope Argument.” Old Fashioned Quarterly 99, no. 1 (Winter 2017): 70-79.

The basic format of a citation thus includes an author, title, and publication information.

Shortened Citations

Sources that are cited multiple times can be shortened after the first citation. In such cases you can provide just the author’s last name, the title (shortened if longer than four words), and a page reference:

1. Amy Sung, The Siamese Art of Double Dating (Hong Kong: Inky Press, 1999), 87.

2. Sung, Double Dating, 107-11.

When shortening a title, remove the articles (aanthe) and use just a few key words. For the author, omit first names and remove references to contributor roles (e.g., ed. or trans.).

When citing the same source in quick succession, you can even leave out the title of the source:

9. Sung, Double Dating, 144.

10. Sung, 159.

11. Sung, 162.

Quotation in a Note

When adding a quotation in a footnote, add the citation as a separate sentence:

1. As Michelle Gobbledygook writes, “ancient Roman aqueducts may have been used for elaborate canoe races.” Gobbledygook, The Kayaking Ostrogoth Tribe that Vandalized the Roman Aqueducts (Vancouver: Arch Publications, 1984), 44.

You have some freedom in terms of whether you wish to repeat the author’s entire name.

See and cf.

A common way to introduce references is to write see:

1. Some tennis experts feel that the fifth set tie breaker should be simplified due to the number of power hitters who dominate the service game. See Kevin Isner, “Going the Distance: The Problem of the Fifth Set,” Wimbledon Advantage 55, no. 2 (2018): 22. 

You can also use the abbreviation cf. (from Latin confer, compare), but only if you actually intend the reader to compare two perspectives on an issue.


If you want to emphasize part of a quote, add italics, or make any other changes you desire, you can add a quick note at the end of your citation:

5. Castafiore, Milanese Nightingale, 377 (emphasis added).

Multiple Citations

When citing multiple sources in a row, you can often separate them with a semi-colon:

6. Important studies of the history of the kettle include Ernst Schwartz, The Black Kettle (Hamburg: Dietrich Verlag, 2016); Ulrich Smelch, From Cauldron to Kettle (Coventry: Witch’s Press, 2001); and Iris Plasterer, “The Plastic Kettle and the Problem of Limescale.” Kittles and Kettles 17, no. 3 (2007): 14-28.


You can cross reference notes, though you’ll have to double check that your numbering remains accurate:

12. See note 5 above.
4. See chap. 2, n. 9.
9. See 201n15.
13. See 5nn1-2.

In the last two examples, the abbreviations and nn stand for note and notes. The number that precedes them is the page reference.

Beyond Page Numbers

Sometimes it happens that a source does not use page numbers. In that case you may want to substitute a chapter title, a paragraph number, or some other description of where the claim or quote may be located.

By contrast, for many classic literary works you will have to familiarize yourself with how a work is customarily cited. Dante’s Divine Comedy, for instance is usually cited by canto and line number:

1, Dante, Inferno, canto 3, lines 7-8
2. Dante, Inferno, 3.28-29.

In such complex citations you can use the abbreviations p. and pp. (for page and pages), but do write out line and lines.


One reason to prefer endnotes over footnotes is that the latter can be a distraction from the body of your text. On the other hand, the downside to endnotes is that many readers don’t like flipping back and forth to compare the notes to the text.

Endnotes are primarily used for books and select scholarly publications. Most students can rely on using footnotes instead.

Citations in endnotes follow the same rules as for footnotes. However, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends that for the sake of clarity writers are more cautious about using shortened citations (see above).

To format your endnotes, add the title “Notes.” If you’re working with a longer document, you can add section headings as well (e.g., “Chapter 5” or “Chapter 5: The Wedding from Hell”). In such cases you can restart the numbering, beginning with 1.

Finally, when using endnotes in a book it is customary to add a running head to each page (e.g., “notes to pages 77-79”) to make it easy for readers to match up the notes with the original citation.

More Information

For more information about footnotes and endnotes, see sections 14.1-14.60 of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

Formatting the Bibliography


Many academic works conclude with a detailed bibliography. Here’s how to format the page and alphabetize your entries, using the guidelines provided in the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

Basic Layout

Always start your bibliography on a separate page. It may be helpful to insert a page break in your document.

Next, write “Bibliography” at the top and centre this heading. Leave two line breaks before starting your first entry (left aligned):

Here are a few more things to note:

  • Apply hanging indentation to your entries.
  • Include your regular header (page number)
  • Single space your entries, but leave an extra space in between them.
  • Use the same font you have used throughout the essay

Note that like most instructors we follow the line spacing rules found in Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. By contrast, the Chicago Manual of Style (sections 2.8 and 2.24) does allow for double spacing.

Rules for Alphabetizing

All the entries in your bibliography should be sorted alphabetically. A good way to get started is to use Microsoft Word’s sort feature. However, you may still have to do some tweaking to get things perfect.

The Chicago Manual of Style prefers a letter by letter approach to alphabetizing. All that means is that when you’re comparing entries you ignore the breaks between words. Here’s an example:

Coleslaw, Bob.

Cole, Ted.

The point of divergence occurs when the s in Coleslaw comes before the T in Ted.

Most often you can alphabetize by name, but sometimes you may have to compare another detail. As you do so, ignore articles (the, a, an) and skip abbreviations such as ed. or trans.

The 3-Em Dash

Traditionally, additional entries by the same author(s) have been indicated by three dashes followed by a period or comma (in the case of a follow-up abbreviation such as ed.):

Wattle, Jeremy. A History of the Rooster’s Crow. Vancouver: Cage Press, 2011.

—. “The Rooster Always Crows Thrice: Another Look at Peter’s Denial.” New Day Hermeneutics 2, no. 3 (2018): 1-15.

—, ed. The Ultimate Guide to Cock Fighting. Peterborough: Broadviewer Press, 2017.

The implication is that Jeremy Wattle is the author of all three texts. Note that for the sake of alphabetizing we have ignored abbreviations (ed.) as well as the articles in the titles (a, the).

The latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style does not require the use of the 3-em dash. You should therefore check to see what your instructor prefers. If you’re not using the 3-em dash, simply write out the full name for each entry.

Multiple Authors

If you’re citing two sources that start with a common author, cite the single-author text before the multi-author text:

Paddington, Elmer. A Brief History of Corduroy Shorts. London: Tweed, 2004.

Paddington, Elmer, and Bryan Fawning. “Sartorial Bullying and the Status of Corduroy.” The Marxist Tailor 88, no. 1 (1993): 7-19.

When both works are multi-author texts (and start with the same author), alphabetize by the last names of the coauthors.

Stone, Brittany, and Lara Mason.

Stone, Brittany, and Ben Mortar.

If all authors are exactly identical, compare a subsequent detail such as a title.

More Information

For more information, see especially sections 14.65-14.71 of The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

Parts of a Citation


This page is not thrilling reading, and you should view it primarily as a reference guide. If you’re using the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), and you have a question about how to cite a particular part of a source (title, author, publisher, etc.), then consult the relevant section below.


Inverting Names

In the final bibliography, the author’s name is inverted:

1. Bernard Standstone, Networking at Starbucks

Sandstone, Bernard. Networking at Starbucks

For multiple authors, invert only the first author’s name (and insert “and” before the last):

Homer, Donald, Guy Hicks, and Kim Stanley Philby.

Also, try list the authors in the order they appear on the title page (even though this isn’t the alphabetical order).

Et al.

For any work that has four or more authors (or editors), use the abbreviation et al. after the first name in your footnote

1. Bob Hermite et al., Growing Hasselberries

By contrast, in your bibliography et al. should be used only for works with more than ten authors. In such cases you can cite the first six or seven and then add the abbreviation.

When coauthors share the same last name (and may even be family), do still cite each name in full:

1. Jason Trilby and Emma Trilby…


If authors use only initials, don’t write out their full names:

E. B. White,
F. Scott Fitzgerald
P. G. Wodehouse


In some cases, you may want to indicate that the author’s name is a pseudonym:

1. Gadfly [pseud.], “Parliament Wrong To Raise Taxes.”

There are, however, plenty of famous authors who have used pseudonyms. Lewis Carroll, for example, was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. For such well known names you do not need to add pseud. or provide the author’s real name.

First names

Some authors are primarily known by their first names. In such cases you don’t have to invert the name in the bibliography:

Dante Alighieri.


Basic Format

Titles of longer works (e.g., books) are italicized whereas shorter works (e.g., articles) are placed in italics:

Teutonic Nights: A Romance (novel)
“How to Turn a Sneeze into a Dab” (blog post)

Note also that the capitalization is headline-style, which means that important words are capitalized, but words like articles (a, the) and prepositions (in, over, etc.) are not. There are two exceptions, however. Do capitalize any word after a colon (at the start of a subtitle) and use sentence-style capitalization for foreign language titles (e.g., Tous les cornichons du monde).


Subtitles are usually introduced by a colon (even if there is no colon in the original). Make sure you capitalize the next word:

A Brewery on the Steppes: An Introduction to the Mongolian Craft Beer Industry

If the main title ends with a question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!), don’t add the colon. The exception is if the question mark of exclamation mark is in quotation marks (the third example):

Stone the Crows! The Popular Representation of Corvidae
Why Always Me? How To Get Children Stop Whining and Love Their Chores
“Haere Ra Dear House!”: New Zealand’s Leaky Home Crisis, 1994-2004

Note also how in the first example the Latin species name is in roman font (see below) and how in the last example the dates are separated by a comma.

If a title has two subtitles, place a semi-colon between them.

Quotations within Titles

If your title is in quotation marks, and it makes mention of another title, use single quotation marks within double quotation marks:

“‘At Small Parties There Isn’t Any Privacy’: How To Host Your Own Great Gatsby Themed Party”

Terms within Titles

When we draw attention to words or terms, we normally use italics:

I can never remember how to spell the words desert and dessert.

This rule also applies for titles. However, if the title itself is already in italics, use roman font for the specific words:

From Schmuck to Kibitzer: My Life as a Yiddish Literary Critic (book)

“Why the Word Stationary Continues to Move Me” (article)

By using roman font in the first example we can distinguish the emphasized words from the rest of the title.

Long Titles

If a title is very long (as is common with older works), you can shorten it by using spaced ellipses enclosed in square brackets:

A Brief Inquiry into the Differences Between the Sexes, Expatiating on the Myth of Tiresias, and Answering the Question whether Men or Women Receive More Enjoyment from [. . .].

You can place the ellipses either in the middle or at the end.

Translated Titles

If you provide a translation of a foreign language title, place it in square brackets:

Een korte geschiedenis van Middelburg [A Short History of Middelburg]

If you provide a translation and omit the original title, let the reader know the language of the source.

A Short History of Middelburg [Dutch]

Publication information

When it comes to citing books, it’s customary to provide the city of publication, the publisher, and the date of publication:

1. Egil Viking, The Oxbridge Guide to Pillaging Monasteries (Reykjavik: All Things Press, 2005).

Viking, Egil. The Oxbridge Guide to Pillaging Monasteries. Reykjavik: All Things Press, 2005.

Let’s review each of these elements in some more detail.


When you look at the copyright page of a book, it can be difficult to know which city to cite. In general, if the publisher has offices in multiple cities, cite just the first one given.

Sleepy Hollow Road 9, Vancouver, Z8Z 9Z9, Canada
Rue de Sommeil 5, Paris, SD 300, France
Träumerei Building, Jena, 983 NDL, Germany

In addition, if the city of publication is obscure or easily confused, then you can add the state, province, or country name (usually abbreviated):

Puddletown, UK: Antediluvian Publications
Yeehaw Junction, FL: Seesaw Press
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Note, however, that if you cite Cambridge University Press, you don’t have to specify that Cambridge is in England. Similarly, if the state is clear from the publisher’s name (e.g., University of California Press), you don’t have to add an abbreviation after the city.

If you don’t know the place of publication, write n.p. or make an educated guess and add a question mark (e.g., Chicago?).

Finally, use English names for foreign cities (e.g., Brussels, not Bruxelles or Brussel), but leave publisher’s names untranslated.



For the publisher’s name, you can omit common abbreviations (e.g., Ltd., Inc., Co.):

Polyp, not Polyp Co.
Towns Brothers, not Towns Brothers Inc.
Myopic Press, not Myopic Press, Ltd.

For university presses you can abbreviate the word university (e.g., Weissnichtwo Univ. Press)


If the publisher’s name contains an and or &, you can you either form in your citations:

Proudfoot and Humble
Haddock & Codpiece
Takit and Leavitt.


Often the copyright page will list multiple publishers. In such cases one parent company may be publishing under multiple names (called imprints). Usually it is sufficient to cite just the imprint.

For example, let’s say the title page and copyright page list both “Macmillan” (the parent company), and “Picador” (the imprint), in that case you would cite just Picador.

If you do want to spell out the relationship between the imprint and the parent company, you can do that:

On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press

Books prior to 1900

For books published before 1900, you can omit the publisher’s name.


For books you need provide only the year of publication. For other works (e.g., articles), you may also want to provide the exact date, month, or season.

Wright, Ian, and Lukas Obviüs, The Art of Mansplaining. Calgary: Red Neck Press, 2018. (book)

Saddleback, Robert. “Ponying Up: The Rising Costs of Miniature Horses.” Grand Spoons Tribune, August 5, 2017. (newspaper)

Often a copyright page will contain multiple dates. Try find the most recent date, but ignore any references to copyright renewal or to specific impressions.

If a source has gone through multiple editions, you will want to cite the latest one:

Blandish, Kate. Mortified or Petrified? The Psychology of Shame and Fear. 2nd ed. Edited by Jude Wooden. Athens: Lightning Press, 2008.

No Date

If a printed text lacks a date, use the abbreviation n.d. On the other hand, when a text has been accepted for publication but has not yet been published, you can write forthcoming in place of the date.

More Information

For more information about the parts of an entry discussed here, please see sections 14.72-14.84 (authors), 14.85-14.99 (titles), and 14.127-14.146 (publication information) of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

Audio Visual Sources


When you cite audio-visual sources using the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), there are a number of common elements:

  1. The name of the content creator (composer, conductor, performer, etc.)
  2. The title of the work (in quotation marks or italics)
  3. Information about contributors, recording and performance details, etc.
  4. The publisher and date of publication
  5. The format (e.g., DVD)
  6. Additional information.

The Chicago Manual of Style allows for a lot of freedom in how you order these elements. In fact, the examples in the official guide demonstrate a surprising amount of variation in how entries are put together. So don’t overthink your citations: try to be as detailed as possible, but know that there is no one way to cite each type of source.


The essential elements for citing videos include the director, title, format, and publication information. Beyond that you can include other details as you see fit. In first example we’ve added the original release date. In the second example we’ve included the title of a specific scene:

1. Ender Pot, The History of Fizzbin (2006; Montreal: Shatner Productions, 2008), DVD.

2. “An Unexpected Find,” Searching for Unicorns in Southern Mongolia, directed by Elmer Watkins, narrated by Cindy Crewneck (Toronto: Imaginary Castles Society, 1990), Videocassette (VHS).

Pot, Ender, dir. The History of Fizzbin. 2006; Montreal: Shatner Productions, 2008. DVD.

Watkins, Elmer, dir. Searching for Unicorns in Southern Mongolia. Narrated by Cindy Crewneck. Toronto: Imaginary Castles Society, 1990. Videocassette (VHS).

If the format is Blu-ray, write “Blu-ray Disc” (both words capitalized). You can include additional contributors (e.g., writers and actors) as well as any other relevant information.

TV Series

Here’s how you might cite an episode from a TV series:

1. The Arsonist, season 2, episode 5, “The Slow Burn,” directed by Mateo Inflagrante, written by Emerson Jones, featuring Emma Stove, Thomas Tallis, and Peter C. Microphone, aired September 3, 2018, on XYZ.

Inflagrante, Mateo, dir. The Arsonist. Season 2, episode 5. “The Slow Burn.” Written by Emerson Jones, featuring Emma Stove, Thomas Tallis, and Peter C. Microphone. Aired September 3, 2018, on ABC.

If the TV series cannot be watched online, you can leave out the URL or provide a link to a page where the TV series can be purchased.


See our separate entry under online sources.

Music Recording

Because recordings of music vary widely, the following examples are meant as suggestions only. You should feel free to add, remove, or combine elements in order to provide a detailed citation.

In particular, you will often have to choose which author or contributor you want to cite first (e.g., composer, performer, conductor). The other contributors can then be listed after the title. Make sure you add a description of each role as appropriate.

The date is flexible too. You can cite the copyright date, the publication date, and/or the date of the recording.

Finally, for LPs and CDs, see if you can find the catalogue or acquisition number, and list it right after the publisher.

Entire Record

Here are a couple of examples of how you might cite an entire LP or record:

1. Johan Hippelhammock, violinist, Austrian Folk Dances, with the Waltzburg Orchestra, conducted by Simone Prattle, recorded January 19, 2011, Strudel Records SR 743, 2013, 2 compact discs.

2. Johann Sebastian Bach, Two Violin Concertos for the Three Fingered Violinist, performed by Axel Yoyo, with the Sweetness and Light Orchestra, conducted by William Nimble, Capital CDP 18766, 1967, 33 ⅓ rpm.

Hippelhammock, Johan, violinist. Austrian Folk Dances. Waltzburg Orchestra, Simone Prattle. Recorded January 19, 2011. Strudel Records SR 743, 2013, 2 compact discs.

Bach, Johann Sebastian. Two Violin Concertos for the Three Fingered Violinist. Performed by Axel Yoyo. Sweetness and Light Orchestra, William Nimble. Capital CDP 18766, 1967, 33 ⅓ rpm.

Note that in the second example “33 ⅓ rpm” refers to the playing speed of the LP. Adding the LP designation would be necessary only if the recording consists of multiple LPs (e.g., 33 ⅓ rpm, 3 LPs).

Single Track

You can also cite a single track. In such cases, your final bibliography may simply list the entire CD or LP (as in the final example)

1. Fred Whitesock, performer, “Sandal Tap Dance No. 5,” track 3 on Fabric or Friction, Over the Top Records OTT 387, 2018, compact disc.

2. Bob Jammer, vocalist, “Leaving You,” by Gregory Samsanov and Hilda Smith, recorded February 2004, track 5 on The Divorce Proceedings, Cumbria Records, 2004, compact disc.

Whitesock, Fred, performer. “Sandal Tap Dance No. 5.” Track 3 on Fabric or Friction. Over the Top Records OTT 387, 2018, compact disc.

Bob Jammer, The Divorce Proceedings. Recorded February 2004. Cumbria Records CR 763, 2004, compact disc.

Electronic Music File

Much of our music these days is found online. To cite an electronic music file that you’ve streamed or downloaded, make sure you specify the file format (e.g., MP3 audio) or streaming platform (e.g., Spotify):

1. Katy Sweet, “Bubblegum Girl,” MP3 audio, track 9 on Summer Drives, Cutie Patootie Media, 2017.

Sweet, Katy. “Bubblegum Girl.” Track 9 on Summer Drives. Cutie Patootie Media, 2017, MP3 audio.

As you can see, the order of the information is flexible. In some cases, you may also want to add a URL at the end.


Here’s how you might cite a professional presentation at a conference:

1. Madge Nelson, “Gru’s Parenting Strategies” (Presentation, Third Annual Minion Lore Conference, University of Paperwork, Smalltown, CA, February 22, 2017).

Nelson, Madge. “Gru’s Parenting Strategies.” Paper presented at the Third Annual Minion Lore Conference, University of Villainy, Felony City, CA, February 22, 2017.

For other types of presentations, change the description as appropriate (e.g., poster presented at …).


Performances are normally cited only in the notes, and not in the bibliography. Add as much information as you think relevant:

1. The Lost Umbrella, dir. Roger Sneak, written by Michel Petit, Grand Théâtre, Cherbourg, France, July 5, 2015.

Other Audio-visual Files

Any other audio-visual files should be cited following the same patterns illustrated above. Provide additional description as appropriate.

In this final example we’ve cited an audio book:

1. Ian Thorpe, Classic Tennis Sounds: The Sharapova Years, read by Esther Ball and Rafael Swipe (Amsterdam: Courtside Audio, 2015), audio book, 24 hr., 59 min.

Thorpe, Ian. Classic Tennis Sounds: The Sharapova Years. Read by Esther Ball and Rafael Swipe. Amsterdam: Courtside Audio, 2015. Audio book, 24 hr., 59 min.


For more information about citing audio-visual sources, please check out sections 14.261-14.266 of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

Manuscript Collections


If you’re doing archival research, citing sources can be a bit tricky. There is great variation between documents, which is why the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) allows some leeway in how you cite your sources.

Common elements include a description of the document or collection, as well as some indication of where the source can be located (often a library).

In footnotes the specific item (letter, report, etc.) is usually cited first. In the bibliography your entry can start with any number of things (the collection, the author, etc.).

Note that libraries often provide their own instructions for how to cite their holdings. For expert guidance, check out the resources section below.

General Guidelines

Here are a few tips for citing archival sources:

  • Use quotation marks only for specific titles. Generic descriptions (e.g., Letter, Memorandum) don’t need quotation marks.
  • If the generic description of the source is not actually found in the manuscript, you don’t always have to capitalize it.
  • You can use the abbreviations MS and MSS for manuscript and manuscripts (though the first usage is typically written out).
  • In your footnotes you can often omit the word letter (e.g., 2. Colonel Tom to NASA)


Here are some examples of how you might cite an item in a collection:

1. Prince Albert to Queen Victoria, 17 June 1859, Victoria Papers, Royal Pane Archives, London.

2. Ian Tipperary, memorandum, “How to Stop Canadians from Burning Down the White House,” 6 December, 1813, Dolley Madison Papers, MS 322, Princeton University Library.

Victoria Papers. Royal Pane Archives, London.

Tipperary, Ian. Correspondence. Dolley Madison Papers. Princeton University Library.

Note that these are but a couple of variations, and you will have to be flexible in adapting them to your own needs.


Often libraries provide their own citation guidelines. Examples include the National Archives of the United States and Library Archives Canada. For more information, see also sections 14.221-14.231 of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).

Interviews and Messages


According to the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), interviews and personal messages may be cited in the footnotes alone, though in some cases you can add an entry to your bibliography as well.

Unpublished interviews

Interviews rarely have a title, and the main focus is on identifying the interviewer and interviewee (listed first). If the interview has been published or is available in a collection of some sort, you can provide some additional information.

For unpublished interviews, cite as much information as is available:

1. Bertrand de Born (CEO, Schismatix Group), interview by Dante Lighthead, March 2, 2017.

2. Amish Killjoy, in discussion with the author, September 15, 2002.

de Born, Bertrand (CEO, Schismatix Group). Interviewed by Dante Lighthead. March 2, 2017.

Killjoy, Amish. Discussion with the author. September 15, 2002.

Published interviews

Let’s look at a couple of examples of how published interviews might be cited. First, here’s an interview shared on a blog:

1. Kim Jong-un, interview by Dennis Rodman, Embrace the Worm (blog), January 8, 2018,

Jong-un, Kim. Interviewed by Dennis Rodman. Embrace the Worm (blog). January 8, 2018.

Next, here’s an interview published as a journal article:

1. Michael Rode, “What’s New in the Recording Industry: Interview with Michael Rode,” by Jim Shure, The Right Focus 2, no. 5 (2017): 99-104.

Rode, Michael. “What’s New in the Recording Industry: Interview with Michael Rode.” By Jim Shure. The Right Focus 2, no. 5 (2017): 99-104.

In this case the title already indicates that this is an interview, so we’ve written “by Jim Shure” rather than “interview(ed) by Jim Shure.”

If your source has been published in a different format, don’t panic. Just adjust the format to meet your needs.


Personal messages don’t need to be cited in your bibliography. Most often you can just provide a name (where possible), a description (message, conversation, etc.), and a date:

1. Jane Birk, email message to the author, August 2, 2015.

More Information

For more information about how to cite interviews and messages, see sections 14.211-14.214 of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).