Chicago Manual Of Style - Quick Writing Guide

Well, there are several main citation styles as we already know. This time we’re going to tell you about the most recent updates, sixteenth actually, of Chicago style format and its citation identity. Please, be patient with Chicago style citation as this format is not the easiest one and if you already know Harvard styleIEEE or MLA format well doesn’t mean you will learn this one fast. This style preferred by many, but still lots of people don’t do it well. Thus, let’s start with a definition and short summary.

Brief Definition

The most recent edition of this format was presented in September 2010 and hasn't been changed since that time. While we're still waiting for the 17th edition to come out in September, for now, we still use the rules described in 16th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Chicago manual of style or CMS says that this format works for a wide variety of topics. It can be applied to grammar specifications, publications, and even manuscript preparation. Some editors call this style a Bible of editing. Lots of books consulted online are wide sources of knowledge every student or future researcher should read. This format works with two systems:

  • Notes and Bibliography
  • Author-Date

Both are pretty the same but work in different fields. Thus, Notes-Bibliography is more relevant in history, arts, and literary works, while Author-Date System is used by authors for social and science papers. Thus, let’s describe one of those systems in details.

Notes and bibliography (NB) in Chicago style

If you are well with humanities, especially history, you should understand the basics of The Chicago NB system. It provides a writer with a special format to reference the sources they used in their papers. You can do it in your text directly or on the Chicago style annotated bibliography information page. Besides that, you also have a special outlet to cite all those sources by yourself.

About Footnotes and Endnotes

First of all, while dealing with Chicago citation system, you should understand that notes or as they are also known footnotes are essential. You need to include it each time you make a reference. No matter if it was a quote of made of paraphrase or summary. You must add those footnotes at the end of each page where the reference was included. And endnotes should be placed at the end of each chapter or even the whole paper. The types of sources you use just don’t matter.

How to format the citation?

And here is how those notes should be formed. First of all, you need to include all relevant information about the author:

  • Author’s first name or even full name
  • The title of the source
  • Publication features.

In case you take a quote from the same source, you just need to set the last name of the author, page numbers of the source, and its brief title. Thus, your citation should go like this:

One author

1. Gregory House, The Guide: How to Cure a Man While Being a Complete Jerk (New York: Penguin, 1994), 69–70.

2. House, The Guide, 3.

House, Gregory. The Guide: How to Cure a Man While Being a Complete Jerk. New York: Penguin, 1994.

Two or more authors

1. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent, The War: How to Kill a Superhero (Gotham: Arkham Gates, 2007), 45.

2. Wayne and Kent, War, 36-77.

Wayne, Bruce, and Clark Kent. The War: How to Kill a Superhero, Gotham: Arkham Gates, 2007

Of course, you can cite the same source and the same page few times. In this case, you need to add a special abbreviation Ibid. From Latin, it means “in the same place.” Also, you can use the same Ibid. For the same source title and set new page numbers just after a comma. Start every footnote and endnote with a current number and then follow with period and space.

About Bibliographies

You must have already heard about bibliographies or a reference list. This is a special page or few with an alphabetical list of all books, magazines, websites, and other sources from which you took your citations. The title of this page usually is just one-word Bibliography, and the whole page goes at the end of the entire document. Sometimes it is followed by the index. Every single citation source that was included in your paper should be listed on this page. Sometimes a tutor can ask you to include even those sources that were not cited but that are useful for the entire topic.

Please note that there are few different ways to form your reference list page. Closest to Chicago style is IEEE style. You can try out our IEEE citation generator for free. But first of all, you should set all sources like books, magazines, internet pages, DVDs alphabetically. The main alphabetical count should go from the author’s last name. If there is no author, you can use the first letter of the title or a keyword.


  • Common Elements – You should place all the components in your reference list in alphabetical order using author’s name, title, and info about the release.
  • Author’s Names – the first name of the author is not the main one. The alphabetical order should start with the last name of the author instead. Those two names should be separated by a comma.
  • Titles – In this case, you should italicize all titles of all sources. But those of articles, poems, and chapters should be placed in quotation marks.
  • Data Release – this info is critical. You should include the year of publication.
  • Punctuation – every point in your reference list should be separated by periods.

For additional help, please feel free to use EduBirdie free Chicago style citation generator.

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Using Academic Language

Academic language is formal. And this is one of its most distinguishing features. It means that you should sound objective and even impersonal to persuade a reader to take your side or believe in what you are writing about. From here, there is a number of things to avoid in academic writing, such as:

  • Contractions. Since contractions are common for informal speech, they should never be used in academic writing unless they are a part of a direct quotation;
  • Personal Pronouns. Whenever you use them in the academic paper, you automatically make your viewpoint too subjective. And that goes against the main aspect of academic writing genre: objectiveness;
  • Colloquialisms. These are expressions often heard in everyday speech but, nevertheless, should be avoided in academic writing.
  • Run-on expressions. These are short phrases that are thought to help complete the sentence (“and so forth,” ”so on,” etc.) while, in fact, they are word-fillers that sound inadequate in academic writing;
  • Rhetorical questions. Everything you write in your academic paper should be clear and understandable for the reader. This is where rhetorical questions bring in misunderstanding, hence they should be eliminated.

Academic tone or style can make a difference when it goes into grading paper or its publication. Lots of writers even turn to editorial agencies to get their academic language tone improved or, as some say, to help them find their writer’s voice. If you’re also looking to develop your academic tone and find appropriate style in writing, use our Turabian footnote generator, consider our blog entries for better results and writing experience. Or if you need any other bibliography help, you can make an order or contact our support team any time.

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