What Is the Chicago Citation Style?

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  • 0:07 What is Chicago Style?
  • 0:33 Introduction to the…
  • 0:59 What Makes CMS Different?
  • 1:41 Footnotes
  • 3:38 Bibliography
  • 4:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Doresa Jennings

Doresa holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies.

In this video, we cover the basics of the Chicago Manual of Style. This writing format is popular among those in the editing field and may be the preferred style of many professors in technical writing, law, and even some English courses.

What is Chicago Style?

When you hear 'Chicago style,' you may think of pizza, but it's also a formatting framework like APA and MLA. While APA and MLA are the most common types of manuscript formatting found in academic writing, you may run across Chicago style in reviewing articles, and you may be asked to use it as your primary framework, depending on your chosen field of study.

Introduction to the Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style, also known as CMS, covers manuscript preparation and publication, grammar, and documentation. It is a favored formatting style for those in the editing field. What makes CMS so unique is the use of notes, often referred to as footnotes or endnotes when citing sources in the text.

What Makes CMS Different?

CMS is preferred by many because it has built-in flexibility within the style, something appreciated by creative individuals. For instance, margins should be no less than one inch, but no greater than 1.5 inches. So, if 1.3-inch margins tickle your fancy, go for it.

In CMS, you can either use a title page or include the title on the first page of text. If using a title page, the title should be centered a third of the way down on the page. Your name and class information should come several lines later, also centered.


A big part of CMS is the use of notes. The first thing you will include is note numbers. Note numbers should begin with '1' and follow consecutively throughout the paper. In the text, note numbers should be superscripted. Note numbers should be placed in the text directly following the information being cited. Note numbers should be placed after punctuation.

In the notes section, numbers should be full-sized and followed by a period. The first line of a footnote is indented 0.5 inch from the left margin; subsequent lines within a footnote are left flushed.

The footnote should look like this:


First, we see the footnote number. Next, we see the author's first and then last name written out. Following the comma, we see the title of the book and in parentheses the place of publication, colon, then publisher and year of the publication for a book. After the parentheses, we see the page number where information we cited can be found on.

Here is what your footnote would look like if you were citing a journal article.


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