Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. Hello, I was told by an editor that “footnotes should appear at the end of sentences, never in the middle.” This goes contrary to other style manuals, which state that the number should be as near as possible to whatever it refers to. Could you please tell me what your official policy regarding this issue is? The requirement of the editor simply seems illogical to me and I would like to have your view on this matter, since he said the journal in question was using your style manual. Thank you very much.

A. Chicago provides guidelines for placing note reference numbers at any appropriate point in the text—including in the middle of a sentence (see CMOS 14.26). These guidelines show where to put the number relative to punctuation marks. But they’re not meant to take the place of the house style for a journal or other publisher. If, for example, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, published by Cambridge University Press, follows Chicago style (it does, though it should consider updating to the 17th edition) but wants footnote reference numbers to appear only at the ends of sentences, that’s the journal’s prerogative. IJMES’s editors no doubt have their reasons for this preference; maybe they want to encourage authors to consolidate multiple references, or perhaps they find midsentence note numbers to be distracting. Our advice would be to read the publisher’s guidelines for authors and follow them to the letter.