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Notes and Footnotes


In some genres of academic writing, particularly in the sciences, it is usual when referring to the literature to write a number instead of the author’s surname and the date of publication. The numbers and full bibliographic information for each reference are listed at the end of each chapter, occasionally with extra explanatory notes. It is not recommended that English Language or Linguistics students use notes in this way.


Footnotes are extra pieces of information given at the bottom of the page signalled by a small superscript number. In some areas of British academic writing it is generally thought best to avoid footnotes, which can be superfluous and distracting. If the information is not important enough to be part of the main text then it is generally better to omit it altogether. Footnotes should be very short; for example, a reference to a fuller source of explanation or a brief but non-essential explanation of some point.