I have a primary source whose editor often has editorial comments in his footnotes. There are occasions when I would like to quote these remarks, but I cannot understand how to correctly do this from my Chicago Manual. How do I do this?

Also, my reference Book has two column pages and begins each footnote series at the end of each column on each page. This situation further complicates my dealing with the first question.

Finally, this reference book is the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8 of 11 volumes. I know that it can be abbreviated, NPNF with a superscript 2, space, and the number indicating the volume followed by the page number (i.e. NPNF2 8:56). I believe this is preceded by the author and the italicized Main Title of the section I am referring to, but where do I include the document title and footnote information?

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    This isn't really about the English language, so I'm passing it to Writers, where citations are more on-topic. Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 15:58
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    In MLA, what you do is cite the page and the number of the footnote, e.g. "Smith 123n6" (see owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/18). I'm not familiar with the Chicago Manual, but if it does not explain how to cite a footnote, I would do it analogous to MLA, that is, cite the page as you would normally do it, and then add some indication to the number, letter, or symbol of the footnote, e.g. "Smith p. 123, note 3" or "Smith, p. 123, n. ***". You should be fine with that.
    – user5645
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 19:56

3 Answers 3


Generally speaking, citations refer to the physical page on which the cited content appears. They do not narrow it down to a logical part of the document that appears on that page. Cite the page on which the citation in question occurs. I have never heard of any style guide that does anything other than this.

The exception, of course, is citations of works that have numbered paragraphs. In that case, you cite the numbered paragraph. I'm not sure if the conventions of such documents allow for footnotes, but that would seem odd.


Where do you want to publish what you write? An academic institution will have a completely different set of standards to a fanzine page. I would have thought that giving the editor's name, the publication, date, page numbers, publisher, place of publication and edition, and just saying it was the editor's comment would be appropriate, although I don't know the details of the Chicago style.

I can't see how having two columns complicates the problem.

If a text has a standard abbreviation, use that form. However, if necessary, explain it the first time it is used.


Citations in footnotes should always appear in the same page that that superscript appears in.

If you are using Google Docs, there is an automatic footer and superscript button, ctrl+alt+f or insert -> footnote. It will place a superscript where your selection is, and place a footnote that will dynamically move based on which page it is located. It is also automatically numbered, and will change in order.

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