How and when to use footnotes, notes or endnotes

It can be very annoying for a student who has gone to a lot of trouble to research a topic and then write an excellent essay only to find that the grading they receive is not high and the reason for this is because they made incorrect use of footnotes, notes or end notes. One small error or errors reduced the mark of what was otherwise a first class piece of writing.

It is a fact of life that academic institutions require written work presented in a certain format. This is no secret. The lecturers or tutors at the college will take some time to explain the format in which they expect the students’ work to appear. The college will have examples of the format on its website or in its library. The most common formats will be demonstrated on hundreds if not thousands of websites. There is no chance you can use ignorance of the subject as an excuse.

Learn by copying

One of the best ways for a student to acquire the skills of using footnotes, notes or end notes is to look at the work of others who have used them wisely and well. Some of the well-known word processing software programs have detailed explanations, even videos, showing how you can create footnotes and end notes. There is no excuse for any student not to know how to create them.

Knowing when to use a footnote or an end note is not tricky, if you ask. It does not take much effort to consult with your supervisor, teacher or tutor to find out which format they wish you to use.

If you wish to cite a reference during your essay and have the reader find that reference easily by simply looking to the end of the page, you will use a footnote. If the citation or reference mark or comment is listed at the conclusion of your essay, then you will choose an end note. As the name suggest, an end note appears at the end.

The trickiest part can be in deciding which of the various notes you use. The easiest part is inserting them because the software available today makes doing that a cinch. And the software is so good that if you rewrite your essay and need to add or delete various notes, that process likewise is dead easy.