Difference between Endnotes and Footnotes


FootNote & EndNote
Do you know that gecko and salamander belong to two different categories of the animal kingdom despite having so many similarities between them? The same is the case with turtle and tortoise. These are just a couple of the many pairs of terms that you come across during your academic years that look the same but aren’t. One such pair that often gets students thinking is footnotes and endnotes. This blog throws some light on both these terms and how they are important in their own sense.

The function of an EndNote or a footnote
The main function of an EndNote or a footnote is to offer additional information to the readers about the material in the text. Sometimes, while explaining a topic or context, it becomes impossible to include all the necessary details in the main stanza of the text. In that case, you can provide the illustrative information about that term in these notes. The notes provide readers with the extra information that is required to understand the complete context of the material without having to look elsewhere or refer to sources for that information.

Besides providing added details, the endnotes and footnotes can be used to cite the source of information. In addition, these notes more information on any unfamiliar words or elements mentioned in the document. These notes are frequently used in writing academic papers, essays, and even in narrative writing (stories or poems).

The key differences between EndNote and footnote
Footnotes and endnotes are an important means of providing extra information while writing an academic paper. When a writer has to provide some additional information that is incredibly long for the brackets, it should be included either in an endnote or in a footnote. However, the main difference between the two is that the footnotes are written at the foot of a page, while endnotes are preferably written at the end of the chapter or the paper.

You might have seen certain words in a paper or in a textbook that have small numbers printed above them. These numbers either correspond with the numbers printed at the foot of that particular page, at the footnotes, or at the end of the chapter in the endnotes. These notes describe or illustrate upon the matter in the text. In addition, they contain bibliographic details, additional reference material or background information.

Despite several similarities, endnotes and footnotes have some distinct differences that are mentioned here:
The placement:The footnotes come at the bottom of the page of a document. In contrast, endnotes appear at the end of a section or the end of the entire document.

Function:The common function of both endnotes and footnotes is to provide additional information. But, footnotes offer extra information and talk about a particular part of the passage. On the other hand, endnotes acknowledge sources or references used in the text.

Disruption:Given that footnotes come in every page, they can disrupt the continuity of reading. Conversely, endnotes come at the conclusion of the text so they do not cause any kind of disruption to the reader.

Content:Usually, footnotes constitute an abridged description of an in-text citation. Endnotes generally constitute the particulars of the reference cited.

Now that you have understood the difference between endnotes and footnotes, it is time to look at each of these formatting elements individually. As much as they are important formatting elements, they have their share of disadvantages too. It would be helpful to learn about the benefits and drawbacks and use them to your benefit and create an excellent paper.

Footnotes: Advantages and Disadvantages


  1. They instantly provide additional information to the readers.
  2. They are easier to locate.
  3. While printing particular pages of a paper, footnotes get printed automatically.


  1. Including excessive footnotes can mess up the page and affect its clarity.
  2. Too many details can divert the readers from the main focus of the text.
  3. If a page has several charts, tables, or columns, footnotes might get moved to another page.

Endnotes: Advantages and Disadvantages

  1. They do not distract the readers as they are placed separately at the end of the paper.
  2. The readers can check all the notes at the same time.
  3. They do not mess up the main text as they are provided in a separate section in the document.


  1. The readers have to turn to the conclusion of the document to locate the notes.
  2. They can leave the readers confused as details from different chapters are given all at once.
  3. Some hidden conditions or negative implications included in the endnotes can go unnoticed.

The inclusion of endnotes and footnotes usually depends on the specified formatting style. Before you start writing your paper, make sure you read all the formatting guidelines and clarify all your doubts regarding their usage with your professor.

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