University of Houston-Victoria

University College

Using Supplementary Notes in MLA Style

Author/Creation: Academic Center.  Revised: Amy Hatmaker, July  2009.
Summary:  Defines  supplementary notes  and explains when to use them  and  how to format  them  in MLA documentation style.
Learning Objectives:   To define supplementary notes.  To format endnotes and footnotes correctly. To identify reasons  to use supplementary notes.


Using  supplementary notes is a good way to add depth  to your  paper,  to provide  your reader with interesting additional material, and  to impress your audience with  the breadth and depth of your knowledge.   In this  handout, we'll define supplementary notes,  discuss  how to format them,  and  suggest  some uses for them.

What are  Supplementary Notes?
MLA style makes  use of parenthetical references  (author and  page number) to document certain kinds  of information. This  system  works well to allow you to direct your readers  to the sources from  which you derived  your  paper.   But  you can add another, very impressive dimension to your  paper  by using  notes-either footnotes or endnotes.

Endnotes or footnotes can be used to provide  notes about  content or documentation.  Content notes  are notes  that supplement or explain  the primary content of your  paper,  while bibliographic notes  provide additional bibliographic information about  your sources.

Ultimately, supplementary notes  (whether  content or bibliographical) give your  reader  additional information about  your topic that  might  be interesting and  important but  that might  disrupt the flow of information if you include  it in the body of your  paper.

Both  kinds  of notes  are formatted in the same way. Note,  though, that as a rule,  MLA uses only endnotes.  Footnotes should be used only if requested by the professor.

Hint: Many word processing programs, including Microsoft  Word, contain features that  will help writers insert  footnotes and endnotes.  To learn more about  these features and  how to use them,  use the  Help  feature in the word processing program  or perform  an Internet search.   An Internet search  for using  footnotes in Microsoft  Word revealed several helpful websites.

The  following  example  shows how material is presented as an endnote in the text of the  paper. Notice  the number 1 in superscript at the end of the third  sentence: that  is the note  number . Endnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the paper.

      This kind  of authoritarian dominion over wives had  psychological  as well as legal implications according to Robert  Thompson
      (7 4-86). He contends that  the pervasiveness of such attitudes required reciprocal  attitudes of subordination or deference  in
      the relationship. These  attitudes were embodied  in wife and  child. 1 Psychological characteristics ...

The  content or text of the endnote (the material you've  written that supplements or explains some aspect  of your  paper) will appear  at the end of your  paper.  All of the notes  are gathered together and  presented in numerical order  on a separate page at the end of the text. This page is labeled  Notes and  appears between  the last  page of text and  the Works Cited  page. All bibliographical references  made on the  Notes  page will be cited  in alphabetical order  on the Works Cited  page along with  the citations from  the text  itself.  The  Notes  page and  Works Cited page are numbered in sequence  with  the rest of the paper.

The  Notes  page has some specific formatting requirements.  Because it is a continuation of the paper,  the  Notes  page should have a running header  with  the appropriate page number. The title  Notes should  be centered  on the first  line of the page.  Notes should  be listed  in numerical order  and formatted paragraph style with  the first  line  indented.  Like everything else in an MLA paper,  the  Notes  page should  be double-spaced.



Smith 8




     1.   For a different point  of view, see Ross 3. Ross contends that  working class women  never learned  the habit  of deference

from  their  middle  class counterparts.

     2.   The  working class neighborhood in Edwardian England was a hostage  to its own ideas of respectability. ..


 Note: All sources  given in your content notes  will appear  on your Works Cited  page along with the  material cited  parenthetically in text.


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This example  demonstrates the  relationship between  the  text and  the note if the information is presented as a footnote 1 meaning at the bottom  of the page.

In  the  text,  a superscript numeral should  be placed at the end of the sentence where the added information is relevant.


     This kind  of authoritarian dominion over wives had  psychological  as well as legal implications according to Robert  Thompson
     (7 4-86). He contends that  the pervasiveness of such attitudes required reciprocal  attitudes of subordination or deference  in
     the relationship. These  attitudes were embodied  in wife and  child. 1  Psychological characteristics ...

At the bottom of the  page on which  the superscript numeral(s) appears, the content of the note(s)  will appear  beginning four lines  below the te,;ct.

The  note should  have the first  line  indented with  subsequent lines on the left margin. Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout the paper,  so notes  1,  2 and  3, for instance, might appear on page 1 of the  paper! notes  4 and  5 on page 3, etc.  Arabic numbers should  be used.   Notes  should  contain the  numeral, in standard font,  not superscript, followed by a period, and  then  the  text.   The  footnote  is double-spaced.



.. . Text  of paper.  Text  of paper.  Text  of paper.  Text  of paper.   Text  of paper.   Text  of paper .   Te,;ct of paper.  Te,;ct of

paper.  Text  of paper.  Text  of paper.  Text  of paper. Text  of paper.  Te,;ct of paper.

     1.  For a different point  of view, see Ross 3.  Ross contends that  working class women never learned  the habit  of deference

from  their  middle  class counterparts.

for  Supplementary Notes
The  list  below shows examples  of some of the common  uses for notes.

Provide a Blanket  Citation:

     3.  For further studies supporting Jones's conclusions see Garrett 38;  Farmer and  Wilson

345-7 8; and  Hart, Bennet, and  Karloff  211.


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Give Contrasting Info·rmation:

     2. On the other  hand,  Smyth  notes  a different result  altogether in his work,  contending that the overall outcome  of

Rommel's appeal  was negative  because external factors  like the progress  of the war intervened (58-60).


Evaluate  a Source:

     4. While Berker's summary implies  that  Kohlberg's theory  of moral  development is universal and  ungendered, he obviously

fails to understand or account for the impact  of Kohlberg's failure  to include  a representative sample  of females  in his study



Cite a Major Source Requiring Frequent In-Text  Citation:

     1. All references  to Huckleberry Finn  can be found  in McMichael, et al., Concise Anthology.


Explain Methods, Procedures, Tools:

     5. The  original research  group  for this  anecdotal study of childbirth practices  in the early twentieth century were women

who had  practiced  as midwives in New York city between  1900 and  1920. The  study group  was limited to those who had

registered with  the city to practice under  the aegis of a licensed  doctor.


Provide Definitions:

     7. For  the  purposes of this  paper,  post-structuralism is defined  as the movement that seeks to discern  the  relationship

between  language, representation, and  reality  by examining the creation of a. nd forces within certain linguistic systems.



Works Cited


Modern  Language  Association of America.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed.

     New York: MLA, 2009. Print.