How to Make CMS Paper Citation

If you are eager to master Chicago Manual Style Citation, the first thing you need to know to succeed is that there two variants of CSC which usage depends on the target. The first one is “notes and bibliography,” the second – “author-date.”

What are the main requirements of notes and bibliography system in CMS citation?

Notes and bibliography approach is widely used in the humanities (history, literature, arts, etc.). According to it, you should represent the cited sources in the form of numbered footnotes/ endnotes where every raised number corresponds to a certain note. In most cases, sources are also offered in a separate chapter named “bibliography.” The most significant advantage of bibliography and notes is that these two ways of presentation are applicable to different sources that fail to fit into the requirements of author-date approach.

How to make notes according to CMS citation rules?

When you mention someone else’s words in the text, you need to put the number next to your citation. The same is referred to facts (they need some proof). When you tell that 20% of butter manufactures fail to produce butter that corresponds to high standards, you are to put the number at the end of this statement.1 It will prompt your reader where to look for the information about the source of the data.

Mind that different types of sources are cited differently. When you deal with articles, it’s not the same when you cite books – you badly need to learn the differences to win a good grade.

For example:

  1. Betty Botter, Quality Butter Production (London: Times Press, 1975), 12.
  2. Jane Roe and John Doe, “How to Distinguish Quality Butter,” Industry News Teller 17 (2017): 5.

When it comes to notes, you have two options: choose endnotes or footnotes. In most cases, the choice is up to your instructor. If you are told to stick to footnotes, put all your sources at the bottom of each page where you cited them, if endnotes are preferable, you should offer all the notes at the end of your paper.

How to write CMS bibliographies?

This chapter is nothing but a list of the sources. Most often students are asked to include here the sources which they listed previously in endnotes and footnotes. It is the simplest version. Sometimes, the instructors demand to mention the sources you’ve read when preparing for the task but didn’t use. The third variant is to include the sources which you even didn’t read but which are of some interest in relation to the topic. Not to make your task more complicated, ask your teacher about the details.

Enlist sources in alphabetic order (by the author’s surname.)

For example:

  1. Botter, Betty. Quality Butter Production. London: Times Press, 1975.
  2. Roe, Jane, and Doe John. “How to Distinguish Quality Butter.” Industry News Teller 17 (2017): 5.

What are the rules of CMS author-date system?

Sciences and the social sciences are the areas where this system is widely used. To correspond to the requirements of its set of rules you should briefly cite your chosen sources in the text (parentheses, author’s surname, and year of publication). This fact doesn’t mean thought that this system is simpler than the previous one. Every your brief in-text citation should be reflected in full in the reference list (make certain the number of your in-text citations corresponds to the number of points in the reference list).

How to make in-text CMS citations?

When you address to someone else’s words, you should cite the sources right after you’ve mentioned them in parentheses (where you are to include no more than the surname of the author and the year of publication without any comma between them.)

It looks like this:

  • (Botter 1975)
  • (Roe and Doe 2017)

Having decided to illustrate your opinion with the help of citation, add the page number after the comma:

  • (Botter 1975, 25)
  • (Roe and Doe 2017, 15)

How to make a reference list in accordance with CMS citation rules?

This chapter is almost the same as the bibliography. Just like a bibliography, it demands the presentation of sources in alphabetic order (by the author’s surname which is followed by the year of work). Keep it in mind when creating a reference list: in this form of CMS citation, a period is separating the author’s name and the date, the date and the title. Ascertain you’ve included every source you were expected, ask your instructor as for the details.

It looks like this:

  1. Botter, Betty. 1975. Quality Butter Production. London: Times Press.
  2. Roe, Jane, and Doe John. 2017. “How to Distinguish Quality Butter.” Industry News Teller 17 (5): 15.

How to choose between?

The major difference of these two systems is related to a presentation of citation: the first one (notes and bibliography) demands numbered notes, the second one (the author-date approach) insists on parenthetical presentation. The good news is that apart from this, they have much in common.

When it comes to the choice of the approach, in the majority of cases, you need to be attentive to the requirements to your writing. Look around: what kind of system is most widely used by other writers in your field? When the student is not certain which system to stick to, he should just take into consideration the requirements for the task (most often the citation style is included), or ask his teacher (if such indication is omitted).

CMS title page construction

A good beginning makes a good ending. The teacher starts the acquaintance with your writing with the title page, so do your best not to disappoint him from the very beginning. Make certain it corresponds to the system:

  • The first line: place the title of your writing in the middle of the page, to be more precise, halfway down.
  • The second line (right under the title): your name.
  • At the bottom of the page: name of your professor, course title, and the date.


  • use any other font but the commonly accepted Times or Times New Roman 12 pt (variations in bold, underlined fonts, or creative presentation are not accepted!) for your CMS title page,
  • include the CMS title page in a total page count.

The devil is not as black as he is painted, just get started and you will become a master of CMS!

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