How to Title an Essay, With Tips and Examples

Lindsay Kramer

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll notice something about our blog posts’ titles: They all summarize what their post is about. This is so you know exactly what you’ll find in the post, so if you’re looking for specific tips, you know exactly which post to read. 

An essay title does the same thing. There are a lot of similarities between essays and blog posts , and one of those similarities is that for the title to be effective, it needs to be concise and clear. It should also contain one or more keywords, which tells readers the essay’s main topic.  Write papers with confidence Grammarly helps you make the grade Write with Grammarly

What is the purpose of an essay title?

An essay title tells readers what your essay is about. This gives them a heads up on what to expect from the essay and, if they’re reading it to conduct their own research, whether it’s relevant to their area of study. 

Ideally, an essay title also catches readers’ attention and stokes their curiosity, prompting them to read your work. How important it is to achieve this depends on the kind of essay you’re writing—if it’s an assigned essay and your instructor has to read it, an engaging title isn’t your top priority. But if you’re submitting your essay to a contest, as part of an application to college or graduate school, or pitching it for publication, it needs a catchy, intriguing title because the title is the first part of your work the editor or admissions committee will see. And depending on the title’s catchiness and other circumstances of your submission, it could be the deciding factor in whether they read your essay. 

As we mentioned above, a strong essay title gives a clear preview of what the reader will find in your writing . You don’t have to give it all away, but it should act as a general briefing on what to expect from your work and make them want to continue reading it. 

>>Read more: How to Start an Essay: 7 Tips for a Knockout Introduction

What are the rules for essay titles?

Guidelines for essay titles in mla format.

In MLA format , your essay’s title should be in title case. That means every principle word— words that aren’t articles , prepositions , coordinating conjunctions , or the word “to” paired with an infinitive —is capitalized. The only exception to this is when one of these words is the first or last word in the essay’s title. Here’s a quick example: 

Looking Through the Rear Window: Perspective in Hitchcock’s Films

Guidelines for essay titles in APA format

Similarly to MLA format, APA format requires essay titles to be in title case. In addition to this formatting requirement, APA requires that essay titles be succinct and specifically not contain any abbreviations or unnecessary words. Here is an example of how an essay title looks in APA format:

Effects of Blue Light on Boston Lettuce Crops

See how straightforward this essay title is? You know exactly what the essay is going to be about: How exposure to blue light impacts growing Boston lettuce crops. Keep in mind that APA format is typically used for scientific and technical work, so it’s unlikely you’ll use figurative language in your title. 

Guidelines for essay titles in Chicago Manual of Style format

Chicago style also requires that essay titles be in title case. Other than that, Chicago style doesn’t have specific guidelines for what a title should or shouldn’t include. Here is an example of an essay title in Chicago style:

2021 Returns: What We Projected vs. Actual Returns

How to brainstorm your essay title

When you’re brainstorming for your essay, think about the potential titles you can choose. Jot down your keyword and the kind of essay you’re writing, such as an analytical or compare-and-contrast essay . This won’t only help you determine an effective title, but it can also help you determine the best way to structure your essay .

Stay away from punny or otherwise funny titles unless you’re writing a humorous or personal piece—your creative writing class is probably the only course where that kind of title is appropriate. 

Here’s what your essay title should include

  • One or more relevant keywords to your subject
  • Any other necessary words or phrases that tell the reader what to expect from your essay
  • When applicable, a catchy phrase or figurative language

Let’s take another look at the example essay titles from the section above. In the first example, Looking Through the Rear Window: Perspective in Hitchcock’s Films , we have the following elements:

  • An attention-grabbing phrase that references one of Hitchcock’s most well-known films
  • The keyword “perspective,” which tells us immediately what this essay is about
  • Clarity around how the essay specifically explores perspective in Hitchcock’s films and instances where Hitchcock used perspective as a storytelling device

Now take a look at the example APA title essay, Effects of Blue Light on Boston Lettuce Crops. This one is more straightforward and technical. But still, it’s got the key elements that make up a strong essay title: 

  • A clear preview of exactly what’s in the essay: data on how an environmental factor affects specific crops
  • Clear keywords: “blue light” and “Boston lettuce crops”

Additionally, notice how the tone is different from the tone in the MLA essay title. This essay title feels more objective and detached from its subject, giving a preview of the tone the reader will find in the essay. 

What not to include in your essay title

It’s usually best to stay away from negative or controversial terms. Do this even if your essay is taking a stand against something or arguing that another position is harmful. Instead, reframe your position using neutral or positive words to avoid potentially offending a reader or undermining your own position by coming across as aggressive or bitter. Compare these two essay titles:

  • Why Rerouting Campus Traffic Is a Terrible Idea
  • Finding Solutions to Campus Traffic Challenges 

See how the second option, the one that avoids negative language, sounds more engaging and promises a more resolution-oriented read? Remember, your reader is supposed to draw their own conclusions from your essay—don’t attempt to do their work for them by telling them what to think in your title. 

As you brainstorm titles, write them down so you can revisit them after you complete your first draft. Once you have a finished draft , it can be a lot easier to determine the title that fits your essay best. 

Essay title examples

Take a look at these example essay titles and take note of how the tones and vocabulary vary between essay types. A title that’s perfect for a persuasive essay might not be right for a college application or expository essay . And similarly, a title that works for a comparative essay might be too lackluster for a personal or argumentative essay . 

Personal essays

Why I’ll Never Wear a Blue Baseball Cap Again

How 20 Years in Corporate America Made Me a Better Parent

Analytical essays

What is Love? How Romantic and Modern Artists’ Answers Differ

Three Reasons Why We Won’t See a Repeat of the 2008 Bubble

Argumentative essays

The Correlation between New School Buildings and Higher Test Scores—Three Stats You Can’t Ignore

Are We Using the Right Success Metrics for Students?

Persuasive essays

Four Ways Free Wi-Fi Will Boost the City’s Economy

Unless We Take Action, This Heat Wave Is Just the Beginning

Compare-and-contrast essays

Dynamite, Profit, and the Pursuit of Power: Chasing White Whales in Moby Dick and Jaws

Outdoor Growth Patterns of Shiitake and Lion’s Mane Mushrooms 

College application essays

What Scooping Ice Cream Taught Me about Human Nature

Dancing and Math Are More Similar than You Realize

Essay title FAQs

What is an essay title.

An essay title concisely states what an essay is about.

Why is an essay title important?

An essay title is important because it accomplishes a few things:

  • Tells readers what the essay is about
  • Catches potential readers’ attention
  • Helps researchers sort essays and find the ones most relevant to their work

What should you consider when creating an essay title?

When creating an essay title, think about the essay’s purpose. Then, explain the essay’s subject and purpose in a brief clause or short sentence, making it appropriately intriguing to draw readers’ attention. 

essay title chicago

essay title chicago

Chicago Style Format: A Step-by-Step Manual

essay title chicago

The Chicago Manual of Style, a literary authority that has significantly shaped the world of writing and publishing, boasts a legacy that spans well over a century. Since its establishment in 1906, this venerable style guide has played a pivotal role in maintaining the highest standards of writing and publishing across various disciplines. Its enduring influence is nothing short of remarkable, leaving an indelible mark on the realms of academia, journalism, and professional publishing.

Chicago Style Format: Short Description

In this article, our experts, who handle your ' write my paper ' requests, will embark on a journey through the corridors of this iconic guide, delving into its rich history, indispensable guidelines, and the profound impact it continues to exert on the world of written communication. Whether you're a student striving for academic excellence, a seasoned writer crafting prose, or an editor refining manuscripts, the Chicago Manual of Style remains an indispensable companion in your quest for precision and eloquence in language and presentation.

What Is the Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style, often affectionately referred to as 'Chicago,' stands as a formidable pillar of authority in the realm of writing and publishing. First published in 1906 by the University of Chicago Press, this venerable guide is much more than a rulebook; it is an enduring testament to the meticulous artistry of language and presentation.

At its core, the Chicago Manual of Style serves as a comprehensive reference for writers, editors, and publishers, offering guidance on everything from grammar and punctuation to citation styles and manuscript formatting. Its authority extends across an array of disciplines, making it a trusted companion for academics, journalists, historians, and authors alike.

The difference between MLA and APA and Chicago Styles :

While the goal of all major style guides is to ensure clarity, consistency, and credibility in writing, each has its own unique approach.

Chicago is renowned for its flexibility, making it a preferred choice for disciplines like history and the humanities. It utilizes both footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography to cite sources, allowing for detailed referencing and extensive historical context.

In contrast, the Modern Language Association (MLA) style is commonly adopted in the fields of literature, arts, and humanities. MLA is known for its straightforward, in-text citation style and Works Cited page.

The American Psychological Association (APA) style, favored in the social sciences, psychology, and education, employs a concise in-text citation system and a references page, which highlights the publication date and emphasizes the currency of research.

Distinguishing Chicago from Turabian Style

Is Chicago the same as Turabian? It's a question that often leaves students scratching their heads in confusion. Chicago and Turabian are like two branches of the same family tree, both descended from the hallowed halls of the University of Chicago.

Chicago Style format comes in two flavors: notes and bibliography, often favored in humanities, and the author-date system, more prevalent in the sciences. Turabian, created as a student-friendly adaptation of Chicago, primarily employs the notes and bibliography system. Thus, if you're a student or navigating the social sciences and humanities, Turabian might be your go-to choice.

Another key difference lies in the level of detail. Chicago is comprehensive, bordering on exhaustive, making it ideal for complex research projects. Turabian, in contrast, provides clear and concise guidelines suitable for most academic endeavors. While Chicago exudes a sense of scholarly tradition, Turabian is seen as more practical and approachable. Ultimately, your choice between these two styles depends on your academic journey and the expectations of your scholarly audience, akin to selecting the right wine from the same vineyard with distinct flavors.

Basic Guidelines

Chicago Style citation, renowned for its versatility and rigorous standards, provides a structured framework for scholars to create their intellectual canvases. Our expert service, where you have the option to buy essay , delves into the fundamental principles that underpin this renowned style, ensuring your academic work shines with precision and clarity.

Chicago Style Format

Chicago Style Cover Page

The title page, often considered the gateway to your scholarly journey, holds the key to making a striking first impression. While specifics may vary per your instructor's preferences, here are the foundational principles to craft a compelling Chicago cover page:

  • Title Placement: The title of Chicago-style papers should take center stage, situated one-third of the way down from the top of the page.
  • Comprehensive Information: Following the title, provide essential details such as the author's name, class information, and the date, each on separate lines and all generously double-spaced.
  • Subtitle Synergy: Should your work demand a subtitle, elegantly incorporate it by ending the title line with a colon, followed by the subtitle on the subsequent line.

Understanding the difference between Chicago and Turabian styles is crucial. In Chicago Style, having a title page is typically the norm. However, Turabian provides more flexibility, similar to the choice you have when learning how to write an essay introduction in Turabian.

In Turabian, you can either opt for a title page or simply start your document with the title on the first page before your main content. If your professor requests a title page in Turabian, apply the same rules discussed earlier. Keep in mind that whether you're following Chicago or Turabian, your title page plays a role akin to an introduction in your academic work. Hence, it's essential to format it correctly and adhere to the guidelines.

Whether you're writing a synthesis essay or any other Chicago-style paper, the main body is where scholarly communication and rigorous research intersect, requiring clarity, precision, and adherence to citation standards.

  • Structured Organization: Divide content into sections or headings for clarity.
  • Citational Rigor: Follow strict citation rules, aligning with Chicago's guidelines.
  • Clarity and Precision: Emphasize clear language, grammar, and syntax.
  • Evidence Integration: Seamlessly incorporate evidence and data into the narrative.
  • Depth of Analysis: Encourage in-depth exploration and critical engagement.
  • Scholarly Voice: Balance academic rigor with accessible language.
  • Interdisciplinary Flexibility: Adapt to various academic disciplines effectively.

Headings in the Chicago Manual of Style play a pivotal role in guiding readers through the complexities of academic writing. 

Chicago Style Format

Here's a succinct overview:

1. Hierarchy Matters: Chicago Style recognizes several levels of headings, each serving a distinct purpose. These include:

  • Level 1: Centered, bold or italicized, headline-style capitalization.
  • Level 2: Centered, regular font, headline-style capitalization.
  • Level 3: Flush left, bold or italicized, headline-style capitalization.
  • Level 4: Flush left, regular font, headline-style capitalization.

2. Clarity Is Key: Headings should be clear and informative. They should give the reader a sense of the section's content without the need to delve into the details.

3. Consistency Rules: Maintain a consistent hierarchy throughout your work. If you start with a Level 1 heading, continue in the same fashion for subsequent sections. Consistency enhances readability.

4. Avoid Overuse: Don't clutter your text with too many headings. Use them judiciously to highlight major sections or key points within those sections.

5. Capitalization Rules: Pay close attention to capitalization style within headings. In headline-style capitalization, major words are capitalized, while minor words are in lowercase unless they are the first or last words in the heading.

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In-Text Citations and Notes

Chicago Style Format

In Chicago Style format, the judicious use of in-text citations and notes is a hallmark of academic rigor. Here's a helpful guide on how to employ them effectively, even when learning how to write a nursing essay :

1. Notes and Bibliography vs. Author-Date: Chicago Style offers two primary citation systems—Notes and Bibliography (used predominantly in the humanities) and the Author-Date system (commonly employed in the sciences). Ensure you understand which system is appropriate for your field of study.

2. Notes and Bibliography System: If using this system, employ footnotes or endnotes to cite sources. Place a superscript numeral (1, 2, 3, etc.) in the text where the citation is needed. The corresponding citation details appear at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or at the end of the document (endnotes).

3. Author-Date System: In this system, the author's last name and the publication year are placed in parentheses within the text, e.g., (Gerber, 2022). The full citation details are listed in the reference list at the end of the document.

4. Abbreviations: Familiarize yourself with common abbreviations used in Chicago Style, such as 'ibid.' for 'the same source' and 'et al.' for 'and others.' These abbreviations aid in concise and consistent note and citation formatting.

5. Bibliography or Reference List: Conclude your document with a comprehensive bibliography (Notes and Bibliography system) or a reference list (Author-Date system). Ensure that all sources cited in your text are included in this section, and follow Chicago Style guidelines for formatting.

Block Quotes

Chicago Style Format

Block quotes, a distinctive feature of the Chicago Manual of Style, serve as a powerful tool for amplifying the wisdom of experts and honoring the sources that enrich your academic work. Here's a succinct guide on how to effectively employ block quotes:

  • Block Quote Length: Use block quotes for substantial text excerpts, usually 100 words or more in Notes and Bibliography or 50 words or more in Author-Date.
  • Block Quote Format: Chicago Style indents block quotes 0.5 inches from the left margin. No quotation marks are needed, just a single space before and after.
  • Cite in Block Quotes: Always include proper citations in block quotes, either within the quote or immediately following it, with author, date, and page number.
  • Consistent Usage: If using block quotes, apply them consistently throughout your document, following Chicago Style guidelines.
  • Integrate with Context: Seamlessly integrate block quotes into your text, providing context before and after. Explain their relevance to your argument.
  • Citation Style Consistency: Ensure block quote citations match the chosen Chicago Style system (Notes and Bibliography or Author-Date) and place citations correctly.
  • Shortening Block Quotes: Use ellipses (...) to shorten block quotes when necessary, ensuring the original meaning is preserved.
  • Adding Clarity: If you insert your own words within a block quote for clarity, enclose them in square brackets ([...]) to differentiate them from the original text.
  • Punctuation Placement: Final punctuation (period, question mark, exclamation point) goes inside the quotation mark unless it's part of the original quote.

Numbers and Acronyms

Chicago Style Format

In Chicago Style Format, it's generally advisable to express numbers below 100 in words rather than numerals. Therefore, it's preferable to write 'seventy-five' instead of '75.' However, when referring to specific measurements, such as '15 pounds,' you should still use numerals.

Regarding acronyms, it's essential to provide an explanation the first time you introduce them, along with their full expansion in parentheses.

Example: The House Price Index (HPI) reveals...

Subsequently, you can use the acronym alone. Avoid starting sentences with numerals or acronyms. You should either rephrase the sentence to place the numeral or acronym elsewhere or spell out the complete phrase or number. Instead of '200 people answered the question' or 'Two hundred people answered the question,' use 'We received 200 responses.'

Chicago Style Bibliography: Footnotes and Endnotes

In Chicago Style, the use of footnotes and endnotes is a distinctive feature of the Notes and Bibliography system. These notes serve a dual purpose: providing additional information or explanations while also citing sources.

Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page where a reference or explanation is needed. They are marked with superscript numbers in the text, corresponding to the note at the bottom of the page .

  • Placement: Place footnotes at the bottom of the page where the reference or explanation is needed.
  • Superscript Numbers: In the text, mark the location for a footnote with a superscript numeral, usually placed after punctuation marks.
  • Content: Footnotes can include additional information, explanations, or citations. Provide enough detail to support your argument or provide context.
  • Citations: When citing a source in a footnote, use the full citation format, including author, title, publication details, and page number. Follow Chicago Style citation guidelines.

Endnotes in Chicago style, on the other hand, are placed at the end of the document, often before the bibliography section. They follow the same numbering system as footnotes but are collected in one place.

  • Placement: Place endnotes at the end of the document, often just before the bibliography section.
  • Numerical Continuity: Use the same numbering system as footnotes throughout the document for consistency.
  • Content: Similar to footnotes, endnotes can contain additional information, explanations, or citations. They serve the same purposes as footnotes but are collected in one location.
  • Citations: When citing a source in an endnote, use the full citation format, following Chicago Style guidelines.

Chicago Style Citations

Prior to embarking on an essay outline , it's crucial to understand the correct usage of Chicago-style citations. Below, you'll find illustrative examples of Chicago Style citations for different types of works and authors, utilizing both the Notes and Bibliography (NB) system and the Author-Date (AD) system:

Chicago Style Format

Books - Single Author:

Notes and Bibliography System:

Author's First Name, Last Name, Book Title (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number.

  • Jane Doe, The Art of Writing (Chicago: University Press, 2020), 45.

Author-Date System:

(Author's Last Name Year, Page Number)

Example: (Doe 2020, 45)

Books - Multiple Authors:

Author 1's First Name Last Name and Author 2's First Name Last Name, Book Title (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Number.

  • John Smith and Sarah Johnson, The Craft of Collaboration (New York: Academic Press, 2019), 72.

(Author 1's Last Name and Author 2's Last Name Year, Page Number)

Example: (Smith and Johnson 2019, 72)

Journal Articles:

Author's First Name Last Name, 'Article Title,' Journal Title Volume, no. Issue (Year): Page Range.

  • Mary Brown, 'The Role of Biodiversity in Ecosystem Stability,' Ecology 45, no. 2 (2018): 123-135.

(Author's Last Name Year, Page Range)

Example: (Brown 2018, 123-135)

Author's First Name Last Name, 'Title of Webpage,' Name of Website, Publication Date, URL.

  • Mark Johnson, 'The Impact of Climate Change,' Climate News, last modified July 10, 2021, .

(Author's Last Name Year)

Example: (Johnson 2021)

Edited Books:

Author's First Name Last Name, 'Chapter Title,' in Book Title , ed. Editor's First Name Last Name (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), Page Range.

  • Sarah Adams, 'Feminism in the 21st Century,' in Women's Voices: Essays on Gender Equality , ed. Emily White (Chicago: Academic Press, 2017), 56-71.

Example: (Adams 2017)

Final Remarks

Mastering the Chicago Style paper is essential for academic excellence. Whether you're navigating citations, formatting your text, or crafting compelling block quotes, attention to detail is key. Chicago Style empowers you to present your ideas with precision and credibility, enhancing your scholarly journey. So, embrace its guidelines, elevate your academic writing, and excel in the world of scholarship.

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The Complete Guide to Chicago Style

Allison Bressmer

Allison Bressmer

Chicago Style cover

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is a widely used style guide that covers topics like preparing manuscripts for publication, grammar rules, and word usage. It also offers two style options for source citation .

While Chicago Style is more often used for published works than high school or undergraduate class papers, Kate Turabian developed a simplified version of the CMOS’s citation styles, with modifications that address the needs of student writers.

What is the Chicago manual of style

What Does the Chicago Manual of Style Do?

Chicago manual of style general formatting guidelines, how to format an in-text chicago-style citation, guidelines for formatting reference and bibliography pages, why are citations and references necessary.

The purpose of CMOS, or any style guide, is to create a system of standardization across a publication, company, publishing house, or project, etc.

Language and conventions of language, grammar, and word usage are fluid and influenced by social location or other factors, so style manuals provide rules or guidelines to establish consistency.

Additionally, style guides provide easy navigation for readers by creating a clear framework for how sources are cited, documented, and located, should the reader want to investigate that source further.

Why do we need style guides

The CMOS offers these general guidelines for formatting papers:

  • Margins should be no less than 1 inch and no more than 1.5 inches around the paper; margins should be consistent throughout.
  • The body of the main text should be double spaced .
  • Block quotations, notes, bibliography entries, table titles, and figure captions are single spaced .
  • Text should be left-justified .
  • New paragraphs should be indented by one half inch.
  • Font size and style should be legible . While CMOS does not offer a specific font preference, the Turabian guide recommends Times New Roman (12 point) or Calibri (11 point) for student papers.
  • Each page of the document should have a header in the top-right corner that includes the page number .

What About a Title Page?

How to do title pages in chicago style

CMOS does not require a title page. However, if the publication you’re writing for requires one, you’ll need to follow their format.

The Turabian guide states that class papers may require either a title on the first page of text or a title page. If you need to include a title page, the recommendations are as follows:

  • Center the title one-third of the way down the page.
  • The subtitle , if you have one, goes under the title . Put a colon after the title if you have a subtitle.
  • Your name , class information , and the date should be included a few lines (3-4 return hits) later, each a separate line.
  • All information should be double-spaced .

What About Headings?

In CMOS, consistency is key. There is no set rule for headings and subheadings, other than that they should be consistent throughout the work. Think of them as visual cues.

A reader should be able to recognize that “this font at that size” is a chapter beginning. Or “that font in this size” signals a main subsection of a chapter, and so on.

How to do headings in chicago style

Other CMOS Style Elements to Know

Because there is variety even within the CMOS, it’s important to remember to check with your instructor or publisher about the specific style methods they follow and to ensure you understand any preferences not specifically stated in the CMOS guidelines.

Here are some common sticking points you may have questions about.

Introduce acronyms the first time you refer to the entity or concept, etc., that they stand for. The first line of this article demonstrates that practice.

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is a widely used style guide . . . .

ProWritingAid's Acronym Report checks this for you, highlighting any un-introduced acronyms in your text, as well as any inconsistent acronyms:

acronym suggestions in ProWritingAid

Use the Acronym Report with a free ProWritingAid account.

Use words rather than numerals for numbers under 100. For example, write out twenty-eight instead of 28. There are exceptions to this rule: Use numerals when referring to a specific measurement; for example, 1 inch, and when using decimals. Also, for more technical writing, CMOS advocates spelling out numbers one through nine, but using numerals for any figure with two or more digits.

“Block” a prose quotation of five or more lines. This means the entire quote should be indented, or set off, from the surrounding text. Do not use quotation marks around blocked quotations. Use the same font style and size for the blocked quote as you used for the surrounding text.

Use “headline-style” capitalization for titles mentioned in the text, notes, or bibliography. Headline style means the first words of titles and subtitles, as well as any principal words that follow, are capitalized. Principal words include the first and last words of the title, as well as any words that are not conjunctions, articles, or prepositions. Use italics or quotation marks for titles depending on the works they represent.

Figures and Tables

If you include a figure or table in your work, follow these elements of CMOS:

  • Position the figure under the information that discusses that figure.
  • Put the caption directly under the image or figure and flush with the left edge of the figure. Use single spacing for the caption.
  • Leave at least one blank line between the caption and the continuing text in your document.
  • Label the image and ensure that labels are consecutive. For example, Figure 1; Figure 2; Figure 2.1.

CMOS offers two options for in-text citations and their respective reference or bibliography pages: author-date and notes and bibliography .

In-text citations in chicago style

The Author-Date System

The author-date style is used more commonly in physical and social sciences. With this method, sources are cited in the text, usually with a parenthetical citation that includes the author’s last name and the year the cited work was published.

To find full bibliographic information on the source, the reader can consult the reference list and find the corresponding entry.

This method offers the writer some flexibility in how to integrate citations into their texts.

Examples of Author-Date Style

Let's pretend I ran an experiment on the most popular color of M&Ms among five-year-olds. I conducted the study in 2020 (because what else was there to do during a pandemic?), and you want to include my findings in your paper.

How to format author-date style

With the author-date format, you could use either of these possibilities:

The study revealed that five-year-olds prefer blue and green M&Ms to brown and yellow ones (Bressmer 2020).

Bressmer (2020) determined that five-year-olds prefer blue and green M&Ms to brown and yellow ones.

If I had worked with one or two others—say, Johnson and Smith—on my study, you would simply add their names to the citation, like this:

  • The study revealed that five-year-olds prefer blue and green M&Ms to brown and yellow ones (Bressmer, Johnson, and Smith 2020).

If any additional researchers were involved in the study (making the total four or more names), you would use (Bressmer et al. 2020).

If you need to cite more than one reference in a single in-text citation, use semicolons to separate those references.

  • One study revealed that five-year-olds prefer blue and green M&Ms to brown and yellow ones, but a subsequent study indicates that blue is preferred even over green (Bressmer 2020; Phillips 2021).

If I had conducted both of those studies (not Phillips), only a comma would be required between the dates: (Bressmer 2020, 2021).

Author-Date Reference List

If you use the author-date style, you must include a list of references as the last page of your work. Each of your in-text citations must have a corresponding entry on the reference list that includes the full bibliographic information for the source.

The reference list should only include sources you’ve cited in the document.

The Notes and Bibliography System

This system is often preferred by those working in the humanities. It has flexibility and provides an opportunity for commenting on sources, if the writer feels a comment is necessary.

In the notes and bibliography style, writers acknowledge they have used a source by putting a superscript number at the end of the sentence in which that source is referenced. If the reference is a direct quote, then the superscript should immediately follow the quotation. The note number should also follow punctuation, rather than precede it.

Notes and bibliography citation

Footnotes and Endnotes

Using either footnotes or endnotes , the writer includes a numbered note that corresponds to the in-text superscript number either at the bottom of the page on which the reference is used, in which case the note is called a footnote , or in a compiled list of notes at the end of a chapter, or the entire document, called endnotes .

Footnotes and endnotes include bibliographic information for the cited source. These notes then correspond to entries on the last page of the paper, the bibliography.

Usually, the first time a source is listed as a footnote or endnote , it is appropriate to use a full note, which includes full publication details of the source.

If a source is included in subsequent footnotes or endnotes , it’s common practice to use short notes , which include the author’s last name, title of the work, and page number, if relevant. However, always check with your instructor or publisher and follow their recommendations.

Example of Notes and Bibliography Style

Imagine the sentence below appears in the text of a document in which the writer referenced my M&M study. Note the superscript after the referenced material and the corresponding footnote (full-note form) at the “bottom” of my page. A thin line separates footnotes from the main text, and the footnotes appear in a font of the same or smaller size than the main text.

The study revealed that five-year-olds prefer blue and green M&Ms to brown and yellow ones.1

  • Allison Bressmer, “The M&M Attraction Study,” The Journal of Imagined Studies 100, no. 1, (August 2020): 5.

A short-note version would simply include

  • Bressmer, “The M&M Attraction Study,” 5.

The Notes-Bibliography Style Bibliography Page

While a reference list is required for papers written with the author-date system, a bibliography is not required for works written with the notes-and-bibliography system, though they are generally preferred. Once again, check with your instructor or publisher.

The bibliography includes sources cited in your paper and may list other sources you referenced in preparing the work but did not specifically cite.

Formatting reference and bibliography pages

For the most part, format the reference and bibliography pages the same way.

Either list starts on a new, blank page that comes at the end of your document.

  • Title the document as References or Bibliography , depending on the CMOS citation system used in the document. Center that title word, but do not underline or put it in quotation marks.
  • Leave two blank lines between the title and your first entry.
  • Single space the lines of each entry; if the entry has more than one line, use a hanging indent for all subsequent lines (this just means the lines are indented, or “tabbed”).
  • Leave one blank line between entries.
  • Alphabetize entries by author’s name; if no author, then by the first word of the entry (probably the title of the article/work).

What to Include in Chicago-Style Reference and Bibliography Entries

Other than their titles, the only other difference between the reference and bibliography pages is regarding the placement of the publication date. On a reference list, place the year of publication immediately after the author’s name.

elements of bibliography and reference pages

Major Elements

Include the following major elements in reference and bibliography entries and separate the elements with periods:

  • Author’s name: last name first, with a comma separating the names. For example, Johnson, Joan.

Reminder: on a reference list , the publication date appears directly after the author’s name.

Title: Italicize titles of books and journals. Use quotation marks for titles of articles, chapters, short stories, or poems.

Publication information: Name of journal (or larger work in which the cited article, chapter, etc., appears), publisher, year of publication.

If additional information about the source is available:

  • After the title, include others involved in producing the work (editors, translators, compilers); edition number if the work is not the first edition; volume or series numbers.
  • After publication information, include page numbers; URLs, or DOIs (digital object identifiers) of sources accessed through electronic databases.

By acknowledging the author of a source cited in your paper, you do the following:

  • Uphold standards of intellectual and academic honesty by acknowledging the authors of the information you’ve borrowed for your paper. It’s never okay to try to pass off someone else’s work or ideas as your own—that is called plagiarism.

For more help ensuring your work is presented honestly, sign up for ProWritingAid’s Plagiarism Checks —and rest assured your work will not be stored or sold.

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Establish credibility by including the voices and works of others as support for your ideas, arguments, or proposals. When you do this, you validate the credibility of your ideas.

Help your readers by leading them to the source of each of your citations. Should they want to investigate further, your citations will lead to your reference page, which provides the location of your source.

The Chicago Manual of Style offers versatility for writers, allowing them to adapt their citations to the style that suits their work (or their instructor’s or publisher’s request), while ensuring readers can easily identify and locate those cited sources for further investigation.

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  • Writing Tips

A Guide to Source Titles in Chicago Referencing

4-minute read

  • 9th October 2020

If you’re using the Chicago Manual of Style , or even just the referencing styles it sets out, you’ll need to know how to write the titles of other works (e.g., books, articles, web pages). And to help you with this, we’re looking at how to write source titles in Chicago referencing .

How to Capitalize Source Titles in Chicago Style

In Chicago referencing, when you mention a source or publication in the main text of your work or in the references, it should use headline-style capitalization . Also known as title case, this involves capitalizing:

  • The first word in the title and (if relevant) subtitle.
  • Any nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs, and adjectives.
  • Any conjunctions other than “and,” “but,” “for,” “or” and “nor.”

You can see examples of titles capitalized like this below:

David Olusoga is known for books such as Black and British: A Forgotten History and The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism . But he has also produced several television programs, including The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files and A House Through Time .

The Chicago Manual of Style notes that some editors prefer to use sentence-style capitalization . As such, if you’re writing for a publisher or journal, you may want to check which style to use. Usually, though, “Chicago style” means using title case and capitalizing titles as shown above.

Italics or Quote Marks?

In the examples above, we’ve italicized all the source titles. You should do this in Chicago style for all full-length sources (i.e., sources published as standalone works), including:

  • Books, periodicals (e.g., journals, newspapers), and blogs.
  • Poems, plays, and pamphlets published as standalone works.
  • Films, televisions shows, radio series, video games, and podcasts.
  • Standalone musical works (e.g., operas, pop albums).
  • Paintings, statues, and other works of art.

However, Chicago places titles of shorter works in quote marks, including:

  • Articles from periodicals and chapters from books.
  • Single poems or plays from a collection.
  • Episodes from a television, radio, or podcast series.
  • Songs and other short recordings.
  • Blog posts or single pages from websites.

There are even a few cases where you should write titles with no italics or quote marks. The most notable of these exceptions are websites (e.g., Vox, Project Gutenberg), instrumental music (e.g., Bach’s Mass in B Minor) and classic works of art where the creator is unknown (e.g., the Venus de Milo).

Non-English Titles in Chicago Referencing

The rules above change slightly for works in languages other than English. The biggest difference here is that Chicago suggests writing non-English titles using sentence-style capitalization:

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Paul Ricoeur’s first published work was Gabriel Marcel et Karl Jaspers: Philosophie du mystère et philosophie du paradoxe (1947).

Here, we only capitalize the proper nouns ( Gabriel Marcel , Karl Jaspers ) and first word of the subtitle ( Philosophie ) since the title is in French.

And the rules get even more confusing when you include an English translation of a non-English title in your work! In these cases, you should:

  • Use sentence case and Roman type (i.e., no italics or quote marks) for translated titles when the work has never been published in English.
  • Use title case and italics (standalone works) or quote marks (shorter works) for titles if the work has been published in translation.

You can see the difference between these below:

Paul Ricoeur’s first published work was Gabriel Marcel et Karl Jaspers: Philosophie du mystère et philosophie du paradoxe (Gabriel Marcel and Karl Jaspers: Philosophy of mystery and philosophy of paradox). Arguably his last major work, meanwhile, was Vivant jusqu’à la mort (Living Up to Death , published in translation in 2009) .

Here, the first source mentioned has not been published as an English translation. As such, we show this by giving the English title in sentence case without italics. But the second work has been published in translation in English, so we give the translated title in title case and italics.

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Miscellaneous Sources

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Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This page covers types of media you may want to cite that don’t properly fit into any of the previous pages. If you are attempting to cite a source that you can find neither on this page nor any of the others in the Chicago section, consult the  CMOS  or model your citation on the example that most closely resembles your source.

This entry covers the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines for citing lectures, papers presented at meetings or poster sessions, and other similar presentations. Such entries often include the sponsorship, location, and date of the meeting following the title. When such texts are published, they should be treated like a chapter in a book or article in a journal. If the material is available online, include a URL at the end of your citation. The model is as follows:

Note that not all lectures have titles – if you are, for instance, citing a lecture given by a professor to his class, there may be no title to provide. In this case, feel free to skip that portion of the citation.

Visual Arts

This entry can be applied to paintings, sculptures, and all forms of visual art. (Music and other performing arts are covered under LINK:“Audiovisual Recordings and Other Multimedia.”) As usual, these must be cited with title, creator, and date as available, but the nature of these sources requires that you also provide medium, dimensions, and physical location, as follows:

There is some flexibility in portions of this citation. “Date” can be as simple as the year the piece of art was completed; it can be specific enough to include a season, month, or even a day. There might also be complications to acknowledge. In analog photography, for example, the date the photo was taken and the day it was developed into the print you are referencing are probably different; you might acknowledge that with something like “Spring 2013, printed 2018.” You may also have to give a date range if the specific year is unknown. “Location” might be a museum where it is on display, a private collection, or a publication in which it is reproduced; though, if possible, you should always cite the original rather than a reproduction.

You may find “Dimensions” unfamiliar, but most museums and the like will provide you with the medium and dimensions as part of the display or their website; these are standard attributes by which artwork is catalogued. Note that, when dealing with two-dimensional pieces such as paintings or photographs, you will use only height and width; “height” refers to the vertical dimension when the painting is hung on the wall in its correct orientation. Three-dimensional pieces will also include “depth.” Note that it is encouraged to provide dimensions in both imperial and metric units – use whichever the displaying institution gives, then follow it with a conversion in parentheses.

If images of the piece are available online, you should provide a URL at the end of your citation.  

Ancient, Sacred, Medieval, or Classic Texts

Some texts have been reprinted and re-translated so often over the centuries that conventional citations are counterproductive. If, for instance, you cited page 73 of Beowulf, your reader may be unable to find that reference – there are dozens of different translations and editions out there, very few of which share pagination. Even if you specify the edition, that may frustrate readers who have other editions. However, nearly all editions of Beowulf have the same line-numbering system, so citing line 2145 will be accessible to everyone. This same concept, on a larger scale, is what we call “classical citation”.

Classical citation applies only to old, widely-circulated texts with many varied editions. In classical citation, rather than follow page number, you simply follow whatever organizational scheme the author set up, as well as a line number for poetic works. This is used only in note citations – in the bibliography, you are expected to cite the book as normal, so that all the information on your specific edition is provided. The format is extremely simple, and goes as follows:

It is considerate to your reader to specify the edition, translator, numbering   system, or any other relevant information in the very first note citation:

Note that you should only include those details if they’re relevant – it is rare, for instance, that there are competing numbering systems that would require you to specify whose you are using. Often the editor is the translator, and therefore does not need to be cited twice. In all subsequent note citations, use only the brief classical citation.

The numbers by which you cite a specific passage in one of these texts vary depending on the type of text you are using. For an epic poem, you should use “book.line”; for classic plays, you should use “act.scene.line.”; for many medieval and classical texts, you should use “book.chapter.section”, if all three are provided. Some texts, like Plato’s or Aristotle’s works, have their own specialized numbering systems. Prose texts that were not divided into chapters and sections by the author are often just cited by paragraph number. Sacred texts generally use colons instead of periods and cite “chapter:verse” – however, if you are citing a sacred text from any religion you are not intimately familiar with, you should check and see what system the adherents of that religion have developed for their text, or at least follow conventions set down by authoritative scholarship.

There are a few additional quirks in classical citation. For instance, if you are citing the Bible, you must specify which version you are using in every note citation, due to the wide variation from one to another. Many classical texts and authors have official abbreviations you can use if you want to shorten your citations still further – the catalog of these abbreviations is maintained by the Oxford Classical Dictionary . If you feel it is necessary, you can also include labels such as “bk.”, “para.”, “line”, “chap.”, and so forth in the first note, in which case you would write it more like this:

The following examples cover a range of different types of texts that commonly use classical citation.

Reference Works

This entry covers publications such as dictionaries, encyclopediae, style guides, and the like. There are a few relevant differences between citing these works and a regular book; all of these differences apply to the note form, not the bibliography form, however, so we will only have examples in note format. Other than the differences noted below, you may cite reference works as you would any other publication of that medium.

First, any such work that is organized into sections will be cited by said sections, rather than by page number, like the classical works above:

Works organized into entries, such as dictionaries, will be cited by entry. However, rather than treat them like a chapter or section in a standard book, you treat them like a page number. This is marked by the abbreviation s.v., which stands for sub verbo, ‘under the word’. If your citation refers to multiple entries, indicate this by typing s.vv. instead, then listing the entries. Note that the s.v. is placed at the very end for print sources, but for online sources, it is followed by the “last modified”date and the URL.

Particularly well-known and reliable reference works, such as the Oxford English Dictionary, need not appear in the bibliography at all, but can be cited only in the notes. These citations only require the name of the work, the edition/year, and the entry in question:


Chicago/Turabian Citation

  • Citing a Book

Basic Chapter Citation

Example chapter of a book, example chapter of an ebook, example foreword/preface of a book.

  • Citing an Article
  • Citing a Webpage
  • Additional Resources

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Author First M. Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title," in  Book Title , ed. First M. Last Name (Place of Publication: Publisher, date), page cited.

Short version: Author Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title (shortened if necessary)," page cited.


Author Last Name, First M.   "Chapter or Essay Title."  In  Book Title ,   edited by First M. Last Name,  page range.   Place of Publication: Publisher, date.

Eric Charry, "Music and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa," in  The History of Islam in Africa , eds. Nehwmia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels  (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000), 550.

Short version: Charry, "Music and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa," 550.

Charry, Eric.   "Music and Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa."  In  The History of Islam in Africa ,   edited by Nehwmia Levtzion and Randall L. Pouwels,   545-573.   Athens, OH: Ohio  University Press, 2000.

Alan Liu, "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?," in  Debates in the Digital Humanities , ed. Matthew K. Gold (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), accessed January 23, 2014, 

Short version: Liu, "Where is Cultural Criticism."

Liu, Alan.  "Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?."   In  Debates in the Digital Humanities ,   edited by Matthew K. Gold.   Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013.   A ccessed January 23, 2014. 

Strobe Talbott, foreword to   Beyond Tianamen: The Politics of U.S.-China Relations 1989-2000 , by Robert L. Suettinger (Washington, D. C.: Brookings Institute Press, 2003), x.

Short version: Talbott, foreword, x.

Talbott, Strobe.   Foreword to   Beyond Tianamen: The Politics of U.S.-China Relations 1989-2000 ,   by Robert L. Suettinger,  ix-x.   Washington, D. C.: Brookings Institute  Press, 2003.

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FAQ: How should a title page be formatted in Chicago Style?

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Formatting a title page.

Here are some tips for formatting a title page in Chicago style:

  • The title should be centered a third of the way down the page.
  • Your name and class information should follow several lines later.
  • For subtitles, end the title line with a colon and place the subtitle on the line below the title.
  • Include your name, class information, and date. 

Example Title Page

Image of a sample title page formatted in Chicago style

More Information

  • Citation Quick Guide  (Chicago Manual of Style)
  • Chicago Style Guide  (Shapiro Library)
  • Chicago Style Sample Paper (SNHU Academic Support)

Further Help

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite sources in your class assignments and projects.

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Italics and Quotation Marks

Q. Are reverse italics [i.e., roman text in an otherwise italic context] used when a legal case includes names of newspapers that would normally be italicized on their own? Thank you!

A. The name of a newspaper or other periodical would be italicized in the name of a court case—just like the name of any other entity. The Bluebook , a widely used citation guide that we recommend for citing court cases and the like (see CMOS 14.269 ), includes a relevant example: Seattle Times v. Univ. of Wash. (see section B10.1.1 in the 21st ed. of The Bluebook [2020]).

That Bluebook example is intended to illustrate two principles: (1) an initial The in the name of a party to a cited case can be omitted (a rule that applies to both names in the Seattle Times case), and (2) abbreviations can be used for certain terms, including state names and words like “University.”

And though that example isn’t supposed to show the use of italics for case names (which in Bluebook usage depends on context), it does suggest that a newspaper name within the name of a court case doesn’t merit any special typographic treatment. That’s probably because the name “Seattle Times” is, in this context, that of a publishing company rather than a publication (publications don’t argue cases, but their publishers do).

Q. Hello, I’m wondering how to style the name of a television program that has been assimilated into the cultural lexicon so that references to it are not truly references to the show. In particular, an author said, “When I landed at the airport, it was as if I had entered the Twilight Zone.” (He makes many references to this.) I feel it should be capitalized but not italicized, but I can’t find anything to say one way or another. Can you help? Thanks!

A. In your example, you’re right—the reference isn’t to the television show; rather, it’s to the fictional realm made famous by the show. So we agree with your treatment. Had your example been worded instead as follows, italics (and a capital T for The ) would have been correct: “When I landed at the airport, it was as if I had arrived on the set of The Twilight Zone .”

Q. Would you italicize “x” in a phrase like “x number of dollars”? It seems like a variable, but I wasn’t sure if this casual use merited italics.

A. When an ordinary expression is borrowed from a specialized discipline like math, any basic convention that would be recognized by nonspecialists can often be retained, even in casual usage. For example, Chicago style is to italicize the n in “ n th degree” (see CMOS 9.6 ); by extension, we would write “ x number of dollars” (with the letter x in italics). As you suggest, these letters act like variables, which in math are usually italicized.

Another approach that’s common in published works is to use a capital X (normally without italics): “X number of dollars.” A capital X can stand in for anything that’s unknown or mysterious in some way—as in “X factor” or “X marks the spot”—and it’s arguably easier to read than a lowercase x . But either choice should work well as long as you’re consistent.

Q. Should sounds made by animals or objects be italicized when they aren’t part of dialogue (e.g., “quack,” “choo choo,” etc.)?

A. Though not required, such italics might have their place. Italics are common in fiction for unspoken discourse (as for a narrator’s thoughts). Such italics signal to readers that the words come from somewhere other than the narrative or dialogue. Consider also the convention used by many video captioners of italicizing words spoken off-screen. Meow. (Sorry, our editorial assistant must be hungry again.) If you do end up deciding that italics would work for you, try not to overuse them.

Q. Should the common name of a species from a non-English language be treated as a foreign word and italicized, or should it be left in roman type? I’m thinking of the bird known as a po‘ouli in Hawaii, which is elsewhere called the black-faced honeycreeper. Should po‘ouli be italicized?

A. Though it’s not listed in Merriam-Webster (as of July 5, 2022), the name po‘ouli seems to be relatively well established in recent English-language publications that discuss that bird ( sadly reported extinct in 2021 ); in fact, a Google search for “black-faced honeycreeper” brings up “po‘ouli” first, suggesting it’s more common now than the common English name. So you shouldn’t need italics to refer to a po‘ouli except when using the name as a word (as in the first sentence above and the last sentence in your question).

But if you were to refer to, for example, a Deutscher Schäferhund —the German name for a German shepherd—italics would help signal that the German name would not normally be used in an English-language context (except, for example, to let readers know what that name is).

In sum, sometimes it’s necessary to go beyond the dictionary as a rough gauge of a term’s familiarity in English contexts. For the glottal stop (or ‘okina ) in po‘ouli , see CMOS 11.70 (under “Hawaiian”). For advice on capitalizing dog breeds, see this Q&A .

Q. Robots are being named and even developing personalities, not just in fiction, but in the real world. Should their names be italicized—i.e., “I told Benjamin to wait at the coffee shop,” where Benjamin is a robot with artificial intelligence?

A. Italics for robot names could be fun in fiction; however, that doesn’t seem to be the convention either in fiction or in real life. (An exception is generally made for named spacecraft and the like, including the robotic Mars rover Perseverance ; see CMOS 8.116 .) Before you decide what to do, consider asking some robots to weigh in.

Q. Should the apostrophe in an italicized word in possessive plural form be italicized? Example: If I italicize the possessive form of the word pirates , would the apostrophe also be italicized?

A. That depends. If you’re referring to the plural possessive form of the word pirates as a word, then italicize the whole thing, including the apostrophe: pirates’ . But if you’re using italics for emphasis, leave the apostrophe in regular text. For example, “It was the pirates ’ ship, not mine, that sank.”

The difference, however, between ’ and ’ will go unnoticed by most readers—even those of us who scrutinize such things for a living—so let’s switch to the singular to confirm our choices. To refer to the possessive pirate’s as a word, you’d put the whole thing in italics (as it is styled in this sentence). But for emphasis—that is, to single out the pirate ’s ship as opposed to some other ship—italics are best reserved for pirate alone (as styled in this sentence, between the dashes). Even in the singular, this is an extremely fine distinction that will go unnoticed by many. But it recognizes that the possessive ending can be considered independently of the word to which it attaches, as “belonging to” would be in “the ship belonging to the pirate .” That final period, in case you’re wondering, isn’t in italics.

For italics for emphasis, see CMOS 7.50 ; for words used as words, see CMOS 7.63 .

Q. Hello CMOS ! A book I am copyediting contains a text message inside quotation marks (as in, My friend then texted me: “Have you read XYZ?”). The text message in question contains a book title. Would you set the book title in italics, or leave it in roman, as it presumably was in the original text message? Thanks for your help!

A. For the text message to be fully believable, it needs to feel like a text message. So leave the italics out. If you’re afraid of ambiguity, use the narrative to supply the missing context (“She was referring to the book by So-and-So”). But in ordinary fictional dialogue, apply the italics to help your readers; it’s understood that people don’t speak in edited text, so you don’t have to worry about authenticity. For some additional considerations, see “Formatting Text Messages in Fiction” at CMOS Shop Talk .

Q. Should the names of houses be italicized as you would the name of a boat? What about if someone names their car?

A. A house, no. A car, maybe. For example, you wouldn’t use italics to refer to the White House or Graceland or Big Pink (the names of houses located respectively in Washington, DC; Memphis, TN; and West Saugerties, NY). But that last name, unlike the first two, is not all that well known, so quotation marks might be helpful for the first mention:

Several of the album’s songs were composed at “Big Pink,” the house in West Saugerties. . . . Before returning to Big Pink . . .

In general, however, the rule is simple: the names of houses, like other place-names, are capitalized but not italicized.

On the other hand, if you name your Subaru or Ford something other than Forester or F-150 (see CMOS 8.117 ), you could pretend it’s a boat and use italics à la Enterprise , a name shared by various military vessels and a series of fictional Star Trek spaceships (see CMOS 8.116 ). But those are official. Your pet name for your car is unlikely to merit such treatment except jokingly:

Cecil , my prized Celica, is in the shop.

Sorry to hear about Cecil . May he feel better soon.

Q. How do you show emphasis (and not with capital letters) in “thought” that’s already in italics?

A. If you must put thoughts in italics ( italics are just one option among several ), emphasis is usually shown by “reverse italics,” like this:

Does this mean no more waffles, like ever? That’s bad , very bad , I thought.

But you probably wouldn’t have written to us if regular type in an otherwise italic environment worked well as emphasis. Compare the same text but in reverse:

Does this mean no more waffles, like ever? That’s bad, very bad, I thought.

Readers are likely to miss the regular text in the first example (or to notice it but not understand it as emphatic); they are less likely to miss the italics in the second. But if you really want the words to stand out, try bold text or underscore (if your publisher allows it):

. . . That’s bad, very bad , I thought.

Underscore may be the better option. Thanks to the legacy of typewriters (and handwriting), it’s already understood as an alternative to italics. Bold, on the other hand, tends to jump off the page wherever it occurs, which could be either distracting or perfect, depending on the desired effect.

In sum, you have several options, among which is the option to use regular text for thought, reserving italics for emphasis.

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  • Creating a Chicago Style Bibliography | Format & Examples

Creating a Chicago Style Bibliography | Format & Examples

Published on September 23, 2019 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on April 9, 2024.

A Chicago style bibliography lists the sources cited in your text. Each bibliography entry begins with the author’s name and the title of the source, followed by relevant publication details. The bibliography is alphabetized by authors’ last names.

A bibliography is not mandatory, but is strongly recommended for all but very short papers. It gives your reader an overview of all your sources in one place. Check with your instructor if you’re not sure whether you need a bibliography.

Creating a Chicago Style Bibliography

Always make sure to pay attention to punctuation (e.g., commas , quotation marks , parentheses ) in your citations.

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Table of contents

Chicago style bibliography examples, formatting the bibliography page, author names in the bibliography, bibliography vs reference list, frequently asked questions about the chicago bibliography.

Bibliography entries vary in format depending on the type of source . Templates and examples for the most common source types are shown below.

  • Book chapter
  • Journal article
  • The edition is always abbreviated (e.g. 2nd ed. or rev. ed.).
  • Only include the URL for books you consulted online.
  • Use this format to cite a chapter in a multi-authored book. If all the chapters in a book were written by the same person, reference the whole book.
  • Begin the citation with the author of the chapter. The editor who compiled the book is listed later.
  • The page range identifies the location of the article within the journal issue.
  • For articles accessed online, include a DOI (digital object identifier) where available, and a URL if not.
  • If the author is unknown, list the organization or website name as author, and don’t repeat it later in the citation.
  • If no publication date is listed, include an access date instead.
  • The website name is not italicized, unless it is an online version of a newspaper or magazine .

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The bibliography appears at the end of your text. The heading Bibliography is bolded and centred at the top of the page.

Unlike the rest of a Chicago format paper, the bibliography is not double-spaced. However, add a single line space between entries.

If a bibliography entry extends onto more than one line, subsequent lines should be indented ( hanging indent ), as seen in the example below. This helps the reader to see at a glance where each new entry begins.

Example of a Chicago Bibliography

There are further guidelines for formatting a Chicago style annotated bibliography , in which you write a paragraph of summary and source evaluation under each source.

Author names in the bibliography are inverted: The last name comes first, then the first name(s). Sources are alphabetized by author last name.

If a source has no named author, alphabetize by the first word of the title or organization name that starts the entry. Ignore articles (“the,” “a,” and “an”) for the purposes of alphabetization.

Sources with multiple authors

For sources with more than one author, only the first author’s name is inverted; subsequent names are written in the normal order.

For texts with up to 10 authors, all the authors’ names should be listed in the order they appear in the source, separated by commas .

If there are more than 10 authors, list the first seven, followed by “ et al. ”

Multiple sources by the same author

If you include multiple works from the same author, only include the author name in the first entry. In subsequent entries, replace the name with three em dashes , followed by the rest of the citation formatted as normal. List the entries in alphabetical order by title.

A reference list is mandatory in Chicago author-date style , where you cite sources in parentheses in the text. The only differences between a Chicago bibliography and a reference list are the heading and the placement of the date.

The reference list is headed “References.” In reference list entries, the publication date is placed immediately after the author’s name. This allows the reader to easily find a reference on the basis of the corresponding in-text citation.

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In a Chicago style footnote , list up to three authors. If there are more than three, name only the first author, followed by “ et al. “

In the bibliography , list up to 10 authors. If there are more than 10, list the first seven followed by “et al.”

The same rules apply in Chicago author-date style .

To automatically generate accurate Chicago references, you can use Scribbr’s free Chicago reference generator .

In a Chicago footnote citation , when the author of a source is unknown (as is often the case with websites ), start the citation with the title in a full note. In short notes and bibliography entries, list the organization that published it as the author.

In Chicago author-date style , treat the organization as author in your in-text citations and reference list.

When an online source does not list a publication date, replace it with an access date in your Chicago footnotes and your bibliography :

If you are using author-date in-text citations , or if the source was not accessed online, replace the date with “n.d.”

  • A reference list is used with Chicago author-date citations .
  • A bibliography is used with Chicago footnote citations .

Both present the exact same information; the only difference is the placement of the year in source citations:

  • In a reference list entry, the publication year appears directly after the author’s name.
  • In a bibliography entry, the year appears near the end of the entry (the exact placement depends on the source type).

There are also other types of bibliography that work as stand-alone texts, such as a Chicago annotated bibliography .

In Chicago author-date style , your text must include a reference list . It appears at the end of your paper and gives full details of every source you cited.

In notes and bibliography style, you use Chicago style footnotes to cite sources; a bibliography is optional but recommended. If you don’t include one, be sure to use a full note for the first citation of each source.

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UChicago Supplemental Essay Questions

The University of Chicago has long been renowned for our provocative essay questions. We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between.

Each year we email newly admitted and current College students and ask them for essay topics. We receive several hundred responses, many of which are eloquent, intriguing, or downright wacky.

As you can see from the attributions, the questions below were inspired by submissions from UChicago students and alumni.

2023-24 UChicago Supplement

Question 1 (required).

How does the University of Chicago, as you know it now, satisfy your desire for a particular kind of learning, community, and future? Please address with some specificity your own wishes and how they relate to UChicago.

Question 2: Extended Essay (Required; Choose one)

Essay option 1.

Exponents and square roots, pencils and erasers, beta decay and electron capture. Name two things that undo each other and explain why both are necessary. – Inspired by Emmett Cho, Class of 2027

Essay Option 2

“Where have all the flowers gone?” – Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. – Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB’21

Essay Option 3

“Vlog,” “Labradoodle,” and “Fauxmage.” Language is filled with portmanteaus. Create a new portmanteau and explain why those two things are a “patch” (perfect match). – Inspired by Garrett Chalfin, Class of 2027

Essay Option 4

A jellyfish is not a fish. Cat burglars don’t burgle cats. Rhode Island is not an island. Write an essay about some other misnomer, and either come up with and defend a new name for it or explain why its inaccurate name should be kept. – Inspired by Sonia Chang, Class of 2025, and Mirabella Blair, Class of 2027

Essay Option 5

Despite their origins in the Gupta Empire of India or Ancient Egypt, games like chess or bowling remain widely enjoyed today. What modern game do you believe will withstand the test of time, and why? – Inspired by Adam Heiba, Class of 2027

Essay Option 6

There are unwritten rules that everyone follows or has heard at least once in their life. But of course, some rules should be broken or updated. What is an unwritten rule that you wish didn’t exist? (Our custom is to have five new prompts each year, but this year we decided to break with tradition. Enjoy!) – Inspired by Maryam Abdella, Class of 2026

Essay Option 7

And, as always… the classic choose your own adventure option! In the spirit of adventurous inquiry, choose one of our past prompts (or create a question of your own). Be original, creative, thought provoking. Draw on your best qualities as a writer, thinker, visionary, social critic, sage, citizen of the world, or future citizen of the University of Chicago; take a little risk, and have fun!

Some classic questions from previous years…

Due to a series of clerical errors, there is exactly one typo (an extra letter, a removed letter, or an altered letter) in the name of every department at the University of Chicago. Oops! Describe your new intended major. Why are you interested in it and what courses or areas of focus within it might you want to explore? Potential options include Commuter Science, Bromance Languages and Literatures, Pundamentals: Issues and Texts, Ant History... a full list of unmodified majors ready for your editor’s eye is available here . —Inspired by Josh Kaufman, AB'18

You are on an expedition to found a colony on Mars, when from a nearby crater, a group of Martians suddenly emerges. They seem eager to communicate, but they're the impatient kind and demand you represent the human race in one song, image, memory, proof, or other idea. What do you share with them to show that humanity is worth their time? —Inspired by Alexander Hastings, Class of 2023, and Olivia Okun-Dubitsky, Class of 2026

Who does Sally sell her seashells to? How much wood can a woodchuck really chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Pick a favorite tongue twister (either originally in English or translated from another language) and consider a resolution to its conundrum using the method of your choice. Math, philosophy, linguistics... it's all up to you (or your woodchuck). —Inspired by Blessing Nnate, Class of 2024

What can actually be divided by zero? —Inspired by Mai Vu, Class of 2024

The seven liberal arts in antiquity consisted of the Quadrivium — astronomy, mathematics, geometry, and music — and the Trivium — rhetoric, grammar, and logic. Describe your own take on the Quadrivium or the Trivium. What do you think is essential for everyone to know? —Inspired by Peter Wang, Class of 2022

Subway maps, evolutionary trees, Lewis diagrams. Each of these schematics tells the relationships and stories of their component parts. Reimagine a map, diagram, or chart. If your work is largely or exclusively visual, please include a cartographer's key of at least 300 words to help us best understand your creation. —Inspired by Maximilian Site, Class of 2020

"Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" - Eleanor Roosevelt. Misattribute a famous quote and explore the implications of doing so. —Inspired by Chris Davey, AB’13

Engineer George de Mestral got frustrated with burrs stuck to his dog’s fur and applied the same mechanic to create Velcro. Scientist Percy Lebaron Spencer found a melted chocolate bar in his magnetron lab and discovered microwave cooking. Dye-works owner Jean Baptiste Jolly found his tablecloth clean after a kerosene lamp was knocked over on it, consequently shaping the future of dry cleaning. Describe a creative or interesting solution, and then find the problem that it solves. —Inspired by Steve Berkowitz, AB’19, and Neeharika Venuturupalli, Class of 2024

Joan of Arkansas. Queen Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Mash up a historical figure with a new time period, environment, location, or occupation, and tell us their story. —Inspired by Drew Donaldson, AB’16

Alice falls down the rabbit hole. Milo drives through the tollbooth. Dorothy is swept up in the tornado. Neo takes the red pill. Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Rather, tell us about its portal. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about. —Inspired by Raphael Hallerman, Class of 2020

What’s so odd about odd numbers? —Inspired by Mario Rosasco, AB’09

Vestigiality refers to genetically determined structures or attributes that have apparently lost most or all of their ancestral function, but have been retained during the process of evolution. In humans, for instance, the appendix is thought to be a vestigial structure. Describe something vestigial (real or imagined) and provide an explanation for its existence. —Inspired by Tiffany Kim, Class of 2020

In French, there is no difference between “conscience” and “consciousness.” In Japanese, there is a word that specifically refers to the splittable wooden chopsticks you get at restaurants. The German word “fremdschämen” encapsulates the feeling you get when you’re embarrassed on behalf of someone else. All of these require explanation in order to properly communicate their meaning, and are, to varying degrees, untranslatable. Choose a word, tell us what it means, and then explain why it cannot (or should not) be translated from its original language. —Inspired by Emily Driscoll, Class of 2018

Little pigs, French hens, a family of bears. Blind mice, musketeers, the Fates. Parts of an atom, laws of thought, a guideline for composition. Omne trium perfectum? Create your own group of threes, and describe why and how they fit together. —Inspired by Zilin Cui, Class of 2018

The mantis shrimp can perceive both polarized light and multispectral images; they have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. Human eyes have color receptors for three colors (red, green, and blue); the mantis shrimp has receptors for sixteen types of color, enabling them to see a spectrum far beyond the capacity of the human brain. Seriously, how cool is the mantis shrimp: What might they be able to see that we cannot? What are we missing? —Inspired by Tess Moran, AB’16

How are apples and oranges supposed to be compared? Possible answers involve, but are not limited to, statistics, chemistry, physics, linguistics, and philosophy. —Inspired by Florence Chan, AB’15

The ball is in your court—a penny for your thoughts, but say it, don’t spray it. So long as you don’t bite off more than you can chew, beat around the bush, or cut corners, writing this essay should be a piece of cake. Create your own idiom, and tell us its origin—you know, the whole nine yards. PS: A picture is worth a thousand words. —Inspired by April Bell, AB'17, and Maya Shaked, Class of 2018 (It takes two to tango.)

“A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” –Oscar Wilde. Othello and Iago. Dorothy and the Wicked Witch. Autobots and Decepticons. History and art are full of heroes and their enemies. Tell us about the relationship between you and your arch-nemesis (either real or imagined). —Inspired by Martin Krzywy, AB’16

Heisenberg claims that you cannot know both the position and momentum of an electron with total certainty. Choose two other concepts that cannot be known simultaneously and discuss the implications. (Do not consider yourself limited to the field of physics). —Inspired by Doran Bennett, AB’07

Susan Sontag, AB’51, wrote that “[s]ilence remains, inescapably, a form of speech.” Write about an issue or a situation when you remained silent, and explain how silence may speak in ways that you did or did not intend. The Aesthetics of Silence, 1967. —Anonymous Suggestion

“…I [was] eager to escape backward again, to be off to invent a past for the present.” —The Rose Rabbi by Daniel Stern Present: pres·ent 1. Something that is offered, presented, or given as a gift. Let’s stick with this definition. Unusual presents, accidental presents, metaphorical presents, re-gifted presents, etc.—pick any present you have ever received and invent a past for it. —Inspired by Jennifer Qin, AB’16

So where is Waldo, really? —Inspired by Robin Ye, AB’16

Find x. —Inspired by Benjamin Nuzzo, an admitted student from Eton College, UK

Dog and Cat. Coffee and Tea. Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. Everyone knows there are two types of people in the world. What are they? —Inspired by an anonymous alumna, AB'06

How did you get caught? (Or not caught, as the case may be.) —Inspired by Kelly Kennedy, AB’10

Chicago author Nelson Algren said, “A writer does well if in his whole life he can tell the story of one street.” Chicagoans, but not just Chicagoans, have always found something instructive, and pleasing, and profound in the stories of their block, of Main Street, of Highway 61, of a farm lane, of the Celestial Highway. Tell us the story of a street, path, road—real or imagined or metaphorical. —Anonymous Suggestion

UChicago professor W. J. T. Mitchell entitled his 2005 book What Do Pictures Want? Describe a picture, and explore what it wants. —Inspired by Anna Andel

“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.“—Miles Davis (1926–91) —Inspired by Jack Reeves

University of Chicago alumna and renowned author/critic Susan Sontag said, “The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions.” We all have heard serious questions, absurd questions, and seriously absurd questions, some of which cannot be answered without obliterating the very question. Destroy a question with your answer. —Inspired by Aleksandra Ciric

“Mind that does not stick.” —Zen Master Shoitsu (1202–80)

Superstring theory has revolutionized speculation about the physical world by suggesting that strings play a pivotal role in the universe. Strings, however, always have explained or enriched our lives, from Theseus’s escape route from the Labyrinth, to kittens playing with balls of yarn, to the single hair that held the sword above Damocles, to the Old Norse tradition that one’s life is a thread woven into a tapestry of fate, to the beautiful sounds of the finely tuned string of a violin, to the children’s game of cat’s cradle, to the concept of stringing someone along. Use the power of string to explain the biggest or the smallest phenomenon. —Inspired by Adam Sobolweski

Have you ever walked through the aisles of a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club and wondered who would buy a jar of mustard a foot and a half tall? We’ve bought it, but it didn’t stop us from wondering about other things, like absurd eating contests, impulse buys, excess, unimagined uses for mustard, storage, preservatives, notions of bigness…and dozens of other ideas both silly and serious. Write an essay somehow inspired by super-huge mustard. —Inspired by Katherine Gold

People often think of language as a connector, something that brings people together by helping them share experiences, feelings, ideas, etc. We, however, are interested in how language sets people apart. Start with the peculiarities of your own personal language—the voice you use when speaking most intimately to yourself, the vocabulary that spills out when you’re startled, or special phrases and gestures that no one else seems to use or even understand—and tell us how your language makes you unique. You may want to think about subtle riffs or idiosyncrasies based on cadence, rhythm, rhyme, or (mis)pronunciation. —Inspired by Kimberly Traube

In 2015, the city of Melbourne, Australia created a "tree-mail" service, in which all of the trees in the city received an email address so that residents could report any tree-related issues. As an unexpected result, people began to email their favorite trees sweet and occasionally humorous letters. Imagine this has been expanded to any object (tree or otherwise) in the world, and share with us the letter you’d send to your favorite. -Inspired by Hannah Lu, Class of 2020 

You’re on a voyage in the thirteenth century, sailing across the tempestuous seas. What if, suddenly, you fell off the edge of the Earth? -Inspired by Chandani Latey, AB'93 

The word floccinaucinihilipilification is the act or habit of describing or regarding something as unimportant or of having no value. It originated in the mid-18th century from the Latin words "floccus," "naucum," "nihilum," and "pilus"—all words meaning “of little use.” Coin your own word using parts from any language you choose, tell us its meaning, and describe the plausible (if only to you) scenarios in which it would be most appropriately used.  -Inspired by Ben Zhang, Class of 2022 

Lost your keys? Alohomora. Noisy roommate? Quietus. Feel the need to shatter windows for some reason? Finestra. Create your own spell, charm, jinx, or other means for magical mayhem. How is it enacted? Is there an incantation? Does it involve a potion or other magical object? If so, what's in it or what is it? What does it do?  -Inspired by Emma Sorkin, Class of 2021 

Imagine you’ve struck a deal with the Dean of Admissions himself, Dean Nondorf. It goes as follows: you’re guaranteed admission to the University of Chicago regardless of any circumstances that arise. This bond is grounded on the condition that you’ll obtain a blank, 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, and draw, write, sketch, shade, stencil, paint etc., anything and everything you want on it; your only limitations will be the boundaries of both sides on the single page. Now the catch… your submission, for the rest of your life, will always be the first thing anyone you meet for the first time will see. Whether it’s at a job interview, a blind date, arrival at your first Humanities class, before you even say, “hey,” they’ll already have seen your page, and formulated that first impression. Show us your page. What’s on it, and why? If your piece is largely or exclusively visual, please make sure to share a creator's accompanying statement of at least 300 words, which we will happily allow to be on its own, separate page. PS: This is a creative thought experiment, and selecting this essay prompt does not guarantee your admission to UChicago. -Inspired by Amandeep Singh Ahluwalia, Class of 2022

Cats have nine lives, Pac-Man has three lives, and radioactive isotopes have half-lives. How many lives does something else—conceptual or actual—have, and why? -Inspired by Kendrick Shin, Class of 2019

If there’s a limited amount of matter in the universe, how can Olive Garden (along with other restaurants and their concepts of food infinity) offer truly unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks? Explain this using any method of analysis you wish—physics, biology, economics, history, theology… the options, as you can tell, are endless.  -Inspired by Yoonseo Lee, Class of 2023 

A hot dog might be a sandwich, and cereal might be a soup, but is a ______ a ______? -Inspired by Arya Muralidharan, Class of 2021 (and dozens of others who, this year and in past years, have submitted the question “Is a hot dog a sandwich,” to which we reply, “maybe”)

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” – Jessamyn West -Inspired by Elizabeth Mansfield, Class of 2020


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    This entry covers the Chicago Manual of Style guidelines for citing lectures, papers presented at meetings or poster sessions, and other similar presentations. Such entries often include the sponsorship, location, and date of the meeting following the title.

  17. Citing a Chapter or Essay in a Book

    Author First M. Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title," in Book Title, ed. First M. Last Name (Place of Publication: Publisher, date), page cited. Short version: Author Last Name, "Chapter or Essay Title (shortened if necessary)," page cited. Bibliography. Author Last Name, First M. "Chapter or Essay Title." In Book Title, edited by First M.

  18. Chicago Style

    For that reason, the Excelsior Online Writing Lab created this template to give writers a foundation for formatting using Chicago-style guidelines. The template also references OWL sections that might be helpful when writing an essay. Because the template is formatted to Chicago standards, students should feel confident simply deleting our text ...

  19. FAQ: How should a title page be formatted in Chicago Style?

    Here are some tips for formatting a title page in Chicago style: The title should be centered a third of the way down the page. Your name and class information should follow several lines later. For subtitles, end the title line with a colon and place the subtitle on the line below the title. Include your name, class information, and date.

  20. Italics and Quotation Marks

    Find it. Write it. Cite it. The Chicago Manual of Style Online is the venerable, time-tested guide to style, usage, and grammar in an accessible online format. ¶ It is the indispensable reference for writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers, informing the editorial canon with sound, definitive advice. ¶ Over 1.5 million copies sold!

  21. Creating a Chicago Style Bibliography

    A Chicago style bibliography lists the sources cited in your text. Each bibliography entry begins with the author's name and the title of the source, followed by relevant publication details. The bibliography is alphabetized by authors' last names. A bibliography is not mandatory, but is strongly recommended for all but very short papers.

  22. UChicago Supplemental Essay Questions

    The University of Chicago has long been renowned for our provocative essay questions. We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions. ... Pete Seeger. Pick a question from a song title or lyric and give it your best answer. - Inspired by Ryan Murphy, AB'21. Essay Option 3 ...