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Endnotes vs Footnotes: How Do I Tell the Difference?

footnotes vs endnotes

Have you ever heard of endnotes or footnotes and wondered, what is the difference?

I mean, they kind of sound like the same thing, right?

Turns out, they’re not, and in this article, I’ll walk you through both so you absolutely know the difference between all types of notes, whether they go on your foot or your…end.

Let’s just dive in, shall we.

What Are Endnotes?

Example of an endnote

Let’s talk about endnotes – they’re like footnotes, but not, With an endnote, you can point your readers to more information without interrupting the flow of your writing. Which is often exactly what you want to do.

Now, you might be wondering where exactly these endnotes go. Endnotes are typically found either at the end of each chapter or at the very end of the whole book. Hence the “end” in the word.

That way, your readers can easily find all the juicy details you’ve included without having to flip back and forth between pages.

But wait, there’s more! When deciding whether to put your endnotes at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book, there’s one important factor to consider: the number of endnotes you’re planning to include. If you have a ton of them, it’s best to put them at the end of each chapter so your readers aren’t overwhelmed by a giant list at the end of the book.

But if you only have a few, you can collect them all at the end of the book without a problem.

What Are Footnotes?

Example of a footnote

Footnotes are those little superscript numbers you see in a book that lead you to even more juicy info at the bottom of the page. Super useful.

Basically, a footnote is a way to cite a source within your text without interrupting the flow of your writing. You just pop a little superscript number at the end of the sentence where you’re using someone else’s words or ideas, and then at the bottom of the page, you provide more information about that source.

It’s like a mini citation right there on the same page – so convenient!

And here’s a little pro tip for you – if you see a superscript number in a book, that means there’s a footnote waiting for you at the bottom of the page. So when you’re reading and you come across one of those little guys, don’t skip over it! That footnote might have some super important info that you don’t want to miss.

Endnotes vs. Footnotes

Endnotes and Footnotes are quite similar, but they are not the same.

The Commonalities

Footnotes and Endnotes have a lot in common, like being a way to provide additional information and cite your sources without interrupting the flow of your writing.

Another thing footnotes and endnotes have in common is that they both allow you to provide more information without interrupting your reader’s flow. Instead of having to break up your text with lengthy explanations or citations, you can just pop a little number in the text and let your readers know that more info is waiting for them at the bottom of the page or end of the chapter.

The Differences

But of course, there are some differences between these two besties. Footnotes are typically found at the bottom of each page, while endnotes are usually collected at the end of each chapter or even at the very end of the book.

And while footnotes tend to be shorter and to the point, endnotes can go into more depth and provide even more detail.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that even if you’re using footnotes or endnotes, you still need to have a bibliography at the end of your work.

This is a list of all the sources you cited throughout your writing, and it’s important to include it so that your readers can easily find and reference those works themselves.

What Can Authors Include in Endnotes/Footnotes?

Footnotes and endnotes are not just for academic writing, you know! They can add some serious pizzazz to your writing and even take your fiction to the next level.

So, you probably know that both footnotes and endnotes use a superscript number to indicate an in-text citation. What you might not know is that the first time you cite a source in a footnote or endnote, you should provide the full information. After that, you can use an abbreviated version to save space and keep things tidy.

And here’s another fun fact – most footnotes and endnotes include the specific page number from the source they’re citing. That way, your readers can easily find the exact information you’re referring to.

Now, footnotes and endnotes aren’t just for citing sources – they can also be used to add all sorts of fun tidbits to your writing. Think primary sources, parenthetical information, author’s notes, copyright permissions, and even background info on your story’s world.

But Sam, I Write Fiction. What About Me?

And here’s where things get really exciting – footnotes and endnotes can be used creatively in works of fiction! You can use them to add extra details about your characters, provide more info about the world they live in, or even include comments from your characters themselves.

Usually, we see footnotes and endnotes in nonfiction books, but they can be used creatively in fiction too. By using footnotes and endnotes, you can reveal additional details about the world-building in your story, making it seem more fleshed out and academic, like it’s an actual place.

And the fun doesn’t stop there, y’all! You can also use footnotes and endnotes to add comments from other characters.

Imagine a character reading a book within your story and leaving their own commentary in the footnotes, or the narrator commenting on their own words. It’s a super unique way to make your writing stand out and make the reading process even more enjoyable.

Actually Formatting Those Footnotes/Endnotes

Let’s talk about the bane of every nonfiction writer’s existence – formatting footnotes and endnotes. It’s enough to make you pull your hair out, right? But fear not, because there are ways of doing it, and there’s a new player in town that makes creating and formatting footnotes and endnotes a breeze – I’ll get to that in a moment!

Now, sure, you can use programs like Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign to create footnotes and endnotes, but let’s be real – it can be a total nightmare. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, and can mess up your formatting if you’re not careful.

And don’t even get us started on formatting tools like Vellum that only offer endnotes, not footnotes.

But with my new favorite formatting tool called Atticus, you don’t have to worry about any of that. (see my review of Atticus here)

Adding footnotes in Atticus

It’s an all-in-one software that automatically creates footnotes and endnotes for you, so you can focus on the fun stuff – like writing your novel! And that’s not all – Atticus can also format ebooks and print books in various trim sizes, create large print books, and even allow you to customize fonts and sizes. Plus, it creates beautiful chapter themes that will make your book stand out from the rest.

And here’s the best part, babes – Atticus is over $100 cheaper than the leading alternative and available on many platforms. So you can save some serious cash while also making your writing life easier.

All you have to do is specify that you want to use either footnotes or endnotes (note: ebooks only use endnotes), then when you’re inputting your text, it’s super easy to click a button and insert your note.

Easy peazy!

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