Sample Footnotes in MLA Style

If you choose to indent your paragraphs as recommended in the MLA Handbook (132), begin a new paragraph by typing the first word 1/2″ (1.25 cm or 5 spaces) from the left margin. The entire essay is typed double-spaced, except for Footnote citations at the foot of the page. Title of essay centered, 1” (2.5 cm) margin on all four sides, page number at upper right hand corner 1/2″ (1.25 cm) down from the top.

If your instructor prefers that paragraphs not be indented, you must still double-space your lines, but you will need to quadruple-space between paragraphs. More empty space is created for the instructor to write comments when paragraphs are not indented.

Footnotes must be listed numerically and consecutively, both in your essay and in your Footnote citation. Footnote numbers must be superscripted. In your text, add a superscripted number immediately after the quote or reference cited with no space.

The Footnote citations must be added at the foot or bottom of the SAME page where you have cited the sources. All first Footnote references must be cited in full. Subsequent references of the same work may be shortened to include only the author’s last name and page number. If the source cited has no author stated, use whatever minimal information is needed to identify the same work previously cited, e.g. short title and page number. Formerly, the Latin terms ibid. and op. cit. were used but they are no longer preferred.

It is recommended that you use Endnotes in place of Footnotes. This will eliminate the need to allow sufficient space to accommodate all the required Footnote entries at the bottom of the same page where your citations occur. If your instructor has no preference, use the much simpler Parenthetical Documentation in place of Footnotes or Endnotes.

For details on how to handle Footnotes that continue onto the next page, please see MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 6th ed., pages 299-300.

Begin your Footnote citations four lines (quadruple space) below your text. Follow the spacing as shown in the example below, e.g. indent the first line 1/2″ (1.25 cm), and add a space after the superscripted number. Do not indent second and subsequent lines of Footnotes. Single-space Footnotes within each citation as there is not much room at the bottom of the page. Double-space entries between citations, and be sure to list them in the same consecutive order as cited in the text of the essay.

Jones 1

Tracy Jones

Mr. K. Smith


18 April 2006

The Many Facets of Taboo

The World Book Encyclopedia defines Taboo as “an action, object, person, or place forbidden

by law or culture.”1

An encyclopedia of the occult points out that taboo is found among many other cultures

including the ancient Egyptians, Jews and others.2

Mary Douglas has analyzed the many facets and interpretations of taboos across

various cultures. She points out that the word “taboo” originates from the Polynesian

languages meaning a religious restriction.3 She finds that “taboos flow from social

boundaries and support the social structure.”4

In reference to Freak Shows at circuses, Rothenberg makes the observation that

people who possess uncommon features and who willingly go out in public to display

such oddities to onlookers are acting as “modern-day taboo breakers” by crossing

the “final boundary between societal acceptance and ostracism.”5

In traditional British East Africa, between the time of puberty and marriage, a young

Akamba girl must maintain an avoidance relationship with her own father.6

Looking at taboo in a modern society, Marvin Harris gives an interesting example of the

application of cultural materialism to the Hindu taboo against eating beef.7



5 Kelly Rothenberg, “Tattooed People as Taboo Figures in Modern Society,” 1996,  BME/Psyber City, 18 Jan. 2005 <>.

6 Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (New York: Random, 1918) 17.

7 Marvin Harris, “The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle,” Current Anthropology 1992, 7:51-66, qtd. in Stacy McGrath, “Ecological Anthropology,” Anthropological Theories: A Guide Prepared by Students for Students 19 Oct. 2001, U. of Alabama, 18 Jan. 2005 <>.

If your instructor considers your Footnote citations to be adequate documentation, you may not be required to complete a Works Cited, References or Bibliography page. Otherwise, a separate page must be added at the end of your paper entitled: Works Cited, References, or Bibliography to include all of the above Footnote citations. See sample below.


Works Cited

Douglas, Mary. “Taboo.” Man, Myth & Magic. Ed. Richard Cavendish. New ed.

21 vols. New York: Cavendish, 1994. 2546-2549.

Dundes, Alan. “Taboo.” The World Book Encyclopedia. 2000 ed.

Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Taboo. New York: Random, 1918.

McGrath, Stacy. “Ecological Anthropology.” Anthropological Theories: A Guide

Prepared by Students for Students. 19 Oct. 2001. U. of Alabama. 18 Jan. 2005


Rothenberg, Kelly. “Tattooed People as Taboo Figures in Modern Society.”

1996. BME/Psyber City. 18 Jan. 2005 <


“Taboo.” Occultopedia: Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences and Knowledge.  Site created

and designed by Marcus V. Gay. 18 Jan. 2005 <