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Chicago Citation Style 17th Edition

This guide will help you cite sources in Chicago Citation Style 17th Edition.

What Needs to be Cited?

When do I need to cite?

If you use information from another source, that source must be cited. This includes:

  • Direct quotations
  • Paraphrased information
  • Summarized ideas

When don't I need to cite?

You don't need to cite information that is considered "common knowledge." Common knowledge includes facts that are known by a lot of people and can be found in many sources. For example, you do not need to cite:

  • Canada's Confederation was in 1867.
  • Edmonton is the capital of Alberta.
  • Water freezes at 0° Celsius.

What is considered "common knowledge" can change based on a person's culture, academic discipline, or peer group.

To decide whether information is "common knowledge," consider:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What can you assume they already know?
  • Will you be asked where you found the information?

Not sure?

When in doubt, cite the source! Citation adds credibility to your writing and highlights the accuracy of your information.

General Guidelines for Footnotes

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in The Chicago Manual (17th ed.) 


Note numbers in text are set as superscript numbers (p. 751). 

At the bottom of the page, the note numbers are normally full size and followed by a period (p. 755).

Notes should be numbered consecutively, beginning with 1 (p. 756).

Tip: Use your word processor's "footnote" feature to assist with formatting.

Full Note vs. Shortened Note

The first note referring to a work must be a full note, but subsequent citations for that same work can be shortened. The shortened form should include just enough information to remind readers of the full title or lead them to the Bibliography; usually the last name of the author(s), the key words of the main title, and the page number. Check with your instructor to determine whether this shortened form is acceptable. (pp. 757-61)

1. Salman Rushdie, The Ground beneath Her Feet (New York: Henry Holt, 1999), 25.
2. Valerie Bunce, "Rethinking Recent Democritization: Lessons from the Postcommunist Experience," World Politics 55, no. 2 (2003): 168,  
3. Rushdie, The Ground beneath, 28.

Consecutive Footnotes for the Same Work

When citing the same source in multiple footnotes one after the other, cite the source in full the first time, and then use the abbreviated form for all subsequent citations until another source is cited (pp. 759-60).

1. Rushdie, The Ground beneath, 25.                                                              
2. Rushdie, 28.


When the note entry includes a URL that must be broken at the end of a line, the break should be made after a colon of double slash (//); before a single slash (/), a tilde (~), a period, a comma, a hyphen, an underline (_), a question mark, a number sign, or a percent symbol; or before or after an equal sign or an ampersand (p. 750).


Even if you put information in your own words by summarizing or paraphrasing, you must still use a footnote just as you would with a direct quotation. All the information required in the footnote for a paraphrased sentence is the same as if you were using a direct quotation.

Direct Quotations

Numbers in parentheses refer to specific pages in The Chicago Manual (17th ed.) 

Chapter 13 (pp. 708-38) of The Chicago Manual offers recommendations and guidelines for incorporating words quoted from other sources.

Run In Quotes (p. 711)

In incorporating quotations into a text, phrase the surrounding sentence in such a way that the quoted words fit logically and grammatically. Run in quotes are incorporated into the surrounding text and enclosed in quotation marks, "like this."

Block Quotes (pp. 711-12)

A quotation of a hundred words of more (at least 6-8 lines of text) can generally be set off as a block quotation. Block quotations are not enclosed by quotation marks, begin on a new line, and are indented.

A quotation of 2 or more paragraphs should be set off as a block quotation.

Permissible Changes to Quotations (pp. 710-11)

Chicago style allows minor changes to quotations in specific situations. Most notably, and different than other citation styles, obvious typographic errors may be corrected silently (without comment or sic - see p. 733), unless the passage quoted is from an older work where idiosyncrasies of spelling are generally preserved.