Chicago Style: Quick Guide for Students

There are a few common citation styles, and Chicago style is one of them. Recently, it was updated once again, so we decided to write a quick guide for those who wants to apply this style to their papers. Prepare to work hard, since this style is definitely not the easiest one. Even if you are perfectly familiar with MLA, it won’t help you get Chicago style right, so be accurate and take into account our tips.

What Is a Chicago Style?

The last version of this style was introduced in 2010, and since then, it wasn’t changed a lot. So, we’ll discuss the 16th edition of this citation style.

The Chicago Manual of Style (so-called CMS) states that this formatting method can be applied to a huge variety of academic papers. Publications, specifications, manuscript preparation – these are just a few options. These all makes Chicago style a Bible for editors and writers. You can find a variety of sources that use this style, and we think that you already have read or used some of them in your writing work. Generally, this type of formatting consists of two separate systems: Author-Date and Notes-Bibliography.

These two types are quite similar but usually used for different purposes. The first one is commonly used in papers on social and scientific issues, the latter one – in works on literature, arts, history and so on. Let’s take a closer look to each one of them.

Bibliography and Notes

This system would be easy to understand for those who are familiar with humanities. It implies certain rules of formatting references. References can be written right in your text or on the separate page. To write it right, you have to get used to it.

Endnotes and Footnotes

Endnotes are written at the end of each part of your paper, or at the end of your entire work. Footnotes are necessary for Chicago style, and you must write them every time you include some reference. It doesn’t matter if it’s a direct quote or a short summary of the source. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of every page where certain references were used.


Using citations, you need to provide your readers with all necessary information about the author and source, such as a name, features of publication, and, of course, title.

If you use more than one quote from the same source, you don’t need to write whole detailed information over and over again, just specify author’s name, short version of the title, and page number.

In case you’re using several quotes from the same page, you can just use a short abbreviation – Ibid. It’s an abbreviation of a Latin phrase that literally means “from the same source”.

Don’t forget to make footnotes, and always start them with page number, adding period and space.


Bibliography (references) is a special page where you have to list books, articles, and any used sources in alphabetical order. Usually you add the title “Bibliography” on the top of the page, and then move right to the list which ends at the end of your paper. Sometimes references may be followed only by the index. Make sure that all your sources are included in this list. Cited sources are necessary, but sometimes tutors ask students to add all other sources used for your research.

You can use different approaches writing your bibliography, but make sure that all used books, CDs, websites and articles are sorted in alphabetical order. Always start from the last name of the author. If the source has no author, take into account the title and its first letter.


  • Common components – title, author’s name, all necessary data about the source, listed alphabetically
  • Authors name – always start from the last name and separate names with comma.
  • Titles – use italic font for all sources. Literary works must also include quotation marks.
  • Date – never forget about a date of publication!
  • Punctuation marks – separate all items of your list by periods.

Features of Academic Language

Keep your language formal. Your main goal is to create an objective and persuasive text, with no slang words or incorrect pronouns. To help you with such a hard task, we made a short list of “don’ts”:

  • Colloquialisms. These are words that sound naturally in everyday spoken language, but never use them in academic writing.
  • Contractions. It is another feature of informal language, so avoid it unless it’s a part of your quote.
  • Rhetorical questions. It’s the thing that is good for narrative style, but definitely bad for academic writing. Keep your language clear and don’t distract your readers from key points.
  • Personal pronouns. Even if you’re explaining obvious facts, this trick automatically makes your point subjective. Never use it if you want to create a proper academic paper.
  • Run-on expressions. These words help us in everyday speech, connecting sentences. However, academic writing is a serious thing, so avoid all that “and so…”, “well, also” and “so on”.

Some of these features listed above may seem to be insignificant details, but when a commission grades your paper, they can either move you to the top or play a bad joke with you. A lot of students failed due to such mistakes. That’s why we offer you our professional help. Our writers can polish your paper and make it perfect, writing papers in proper style and following all standards. If you face any difficulties with formatting your papers, just contact us right now!

Chicago Style: Quick Guide for Students
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