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Did you ever wonder about the difference between a footnote and an endnote while writing essays? High schools and college professors generally assign research papers to students as part of academic writing. Students thus need to know the difference between footnote and endnote to use each correctly.

Footnotes or endnotes are part of a document that may have in-text citations. Also, footnote vs. endnote is distinctly different regarding cited quotations, citation styles, formatting, etc. This article will talk more about it.

Before understanding the concepts of endnotes vs. footnotes and their relation with an in-text citation style and referencing, we must understand their meaning. An advanced-level tip: you can use abbreviated footnotes throughout a document when including a complete bibliography.

Definition of footnote

Most students look for the answer to ” What is a footnote?” As the name indicates, footnotes come at the bottom of a page. They are usually a short comment on the statement(s) appearing in a definite portion of the text above them or, more commonly, text-supporting in-text citations. 

They include general information, descriptive information, and additional information. Thus, they extend an idea or concept specified in a document or book. 

Footnotes are easily visible as they come at the bottom of the same page with the information they refer to. You get a clearer idea if you take expert guidance from homework solutions like Assignments4u.

It is advisable to use only a few footnotes. They ensure that a bibliographic entry, reference list entry, and all the cited information appear on each relevant page in a document. Thus, they offer instant access to the information provided. Click here to know the difference between mediator vs moderator.

Definition of endnote

Endnotes appear at the end of a document or book. They acknowledge the source and integrity of the information therein.

Students use endnotes to refer to authors and information resources used in the text per the instruction. Endnotes, numbered consecutively from one onward, are listed in chronological order. What is a Number Sentence?

Endnotes are always numbered; a different numbering system or numbering style can be used for each document. Footnotes may be numbered or may use standard symbols, such as a star (*), dagger (†), or a double dagger (‡). Students can see endnotes in books and insert endnotes in their academic papers, articles, and essays. Each endnote or footnote can be in an MLA or APA style; other such style guides exist.

What Is the Importance of a Footnote and an Endnote in a Research Paper?

Footnotes and endnotes include additional information to support the main text. They have the same superscript number for a citation referred to across the text. Here are a few key differences.

  • Footnotes are source citation vehicles that may distract the reader without disturbing the main text. Endnotes need readers to visit the end of a document or book often while reading; it thus hampers reading.  
  • Notes at the bottom of a page and the end of a document or book can sometimes be the same.
  • Such notes are used in printed documents to authenticate descriptions, comments, conclusions, or suggestions in a book or document.
  • Footnotes and endnotes often have the page number of referenced information. 

Endnotes use the Arabic number system. Footnotes can also be numbered but traditionally use specific symbols, as stated earlier in this blog. 

A simple use case: An in-text excerpt can have a corresponding endnote or footnote. Why not know who invented homework?

How to Differentiate Between a Footnote and an Endnote?

How to differentiate Between Footnote and Endnote?

The following points make footnotes and endnotes different.

1. Ease of use

Endnotes can be easily included in a body of written work. Footnotes do not provide such convenience and are a tad outdated now.

2. Cause of distraction

Cause of distraction

Including short footnotes for multiple columns, charts, tables, etc., distracts reading. However, endnotes, though more descriptive, are written on a separate page, causing less distraction for readers.

3. Placement

A footnote allows readers to see the relevant text while reading. However, endnotes only appear at the end of a chapter or document.

4. Goal

Both notes give additional information. However, a footnote may offer detailed information, or extraneous information. In contrast, endnotes help readers use or understand the text better.

5. Type of Content


A footnote features abbreviated or short information referring to an in-text excerpt. Endnotes usually contain a set(s) of information on each quoted reference. 

What Are the Advantages of Using Footnotes?

What are the advantages of using footnotes?
  • It’s easy to locate the main content a footnote refers to. One can see it at the end of each page.
  • Readers can easily see the bottom of each page for more information or find an information source on each page quickly. 
  • Footnotes quickly direct a reader to relevant information or explanatory information and ideas. They are precise.
  • Footnotes are automatically inserted while printing specific pages.

A footnote superscript number, if used, must be placed after punctuation marks.

What Are the Advantages of Using Endnotes?

What are the advantages of using endnotes?
  • Endnotes, coming at the end of a document or book, do not distract readers as footnotes do. 
  • Readers can find all additional information in one place: at the end of a document or book.
  • Readers can read the entire text sans distractions.

How To Write a Good Footnote and Endnote?

How do I write a good footnote and an endnote?

Remember the following points while writing your footnotes and endnotes.

  1. Number the footnotes consecutively throughout a document or book, except when used to refer to figures, tables, charts, etc.
  2. To denote endnotes footnotes, do not use periods, parentheses, quotation marks, or slashes. Place the correct footnote or endnote number, usually at the end of each sentence, to avoid interruption in the flow of the content.
  3. Endnotes may sometimes replace the list of resources cited in your paper.
  4. Consult your professor if unsure about using footnotes and endnotes. Experts know best.

Recall that a footnote gives additional details for the text of that page in which the footnote appears. For more insights on enhancing your academic writing, discover the art of descriptive words writing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do the footnotes and the endnote differ?

The main difference is in their placement in a document. A footnote comes at the bottom of a page. Endnotes come at the end of a document, book, or research paper.

What is the relationship between the endnote and footnote?

Both have the same use. A footnote may interrupt a reader’s flow of reading. The endnote creates no such interruptions as it is placed at the end of the document.

How to create footnotes in the Chicago manual style?

Following are the steps that create footnotes in Chicago style:

  • Put your cursor in the body of the text where the footnote superscript number must appear.
  • You will get the References tab in the ribbon toolbar. Select it.
  • Next, click Insert Footnote.
  • Choose any footnote style.
  • Type your footnote text.

For the next footnote, repeat the process.

When should I use footnotes?

Usually, footnotes lie at the bottom of a page and refer to a definite portion of the text. Students use footnotes at the bottom of their scholarly articles or essays.

How should I format footnotes and endnotes?

It is best to perform formatting using Microsoft Word. Click the place where you want to insert a footnote or endnote. Click Insert Footnote or Insert Endnote. Enter your endnote or footnote text. Now, go to the Format option and select a numbering option. Next, click Insert. Finally, return to the place in your document where you had clicked to insert this endnote or footnote. Double-click the footnote number or symbol, and Word inserts the corresponding endnote or footnote accordingly. 

Do footnotes and endnotes count the total words of a document?

Footnotes are included in the total word count. Endnotes are not.

What is the purpose of a footnote and an endnote?

Both add a short explanation, reference, or comment to support the main text.

State the two parts of a footnote and an endnote.

They have two parts:

  • The note reference mark
  • The corresponding note text

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