In-Text Citations in Chicago Style

in-text citations chicago style

Information is taken from the 17th edition Chicago Manual of Style, latest version.

In-text citations for a Chicago paper look slightly different from other format styles because they mostly rely on footnotes or endnotes to cite sources. But these citations are usually pretty straightforward and easy to apply to an essay, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble working out the specifics of Chicago style in-text citations.

First, let’s look at the two methods used for Chicago citations: the Author-Date System and the Notes-Bibliography System. If you’re familiar with APA Style, then you probably already have experience using the Author-Date System, but let’s break it down just in case. This system requires in-text citations to provide the author and date of a source, and that in-text citation relates to a full citation on the reference page at the end of the essay.

When using the Notes-Bibliography System, though, things are a little different. Instead of relying on parenthetical citations, you’ll only need to use short footnotes or endnotes to cite sources within your paper and provide a bibliography at the end of the paper that features the full citation for each source. This system is by far the more common system used for Chicago papers, so we’ll focus on it in this guide.

General Footnotes and Endnotes, Plus Corresponding Bibliography in Chicago Style

The first footnote or endnote for any particular source should be a full citation in Chicago style essays. After that, if you cite that source again in your essay, you can use a shortened footnote or endnote. This shorter citation should only include the author’s last name—or the source’s title if it has no author—and the page number you’re drawing information.

Here’s a general guide for how to format footnotes and endnotes in a Chicago style paper:

First name Last name, Title of Source (Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication), page number.

And here’s a general guide for how to format the corresponding bibliography citation:

Last name, First name, Title of Source. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of publication.

How to Cite Books in Chicago Format

Odds are, most of the sources you cite will be books, so it’s essential to format those citations correctly, both in the footnotes and in the bibliography.

Most of the books you cite in your Chicago essay will most likely fall into one of those first two categories, but there could be other book citations you’ll need to know. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Book in translation:

Book with an author and an editor:

Chapter from a book:

Introduction, preface, or afterword in a book:

How to Cite Periodicals in Chicago Style

If you have to use scholarly, peer-reviewed sources for your Chicago essay, you’ll probably be citing many periodicals. But what are they? Magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals are all examples of periodicals. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of periodicals and cite them properly in a Chicago essay.

Article in a Journal:

If you accessed this journal online rather than in print, you should tack the URL onto the end of both the footnote/endnote and the bibliography citation.

Article in a Magazine:

If you accessed this magazine online rather than in print, you should tack the URL onto the end of both the footnote/endnote and the bibliography citation.

Article in a Newspaper:

How to Cite Electronic Sources in Chicago

In the digital age that we’re living in, it is almost impossible to write an essay without using at least one electronic source. Therefore, you must know how to properly cite the common electronic sources that you will inevitably use at some point in your Chicago style essay.

One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to keep up with the date you accessed each electronic source you plan on citing, as that will be part of your citation. Other than that, the only significant difference in citing electronic sources vs. other sources in Chicago format is that electronic sources require a URL or DOI.

Here’s a basic Chicago footnote/endnote format for electronic sources:

And here’s a basic Chicago bibliography citation format for electronic sources:

Let’s take a look at some examples of specific types of electronic sources.

Page on a website:


How to Cite Other Common Sources in Chicago

We’ve covered the most common source types for Chicago papers, but let’s go through a few more that might pop up from time to time.

Speeches and Lectures:

Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph:

Online Video:


Footnotes and endnotes are crucial to Chicago essays, so it’s essential to make sure your notes and bibliography entries are all formatted correctly. This guide should lead you through every common source type you’ll need to use to write a fantastic Chicago essay!

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