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Chicago Style Format: All You Need To Know

Chicago Style Format: All You Need To Know

Tutor John W.

The Chicago Style Format is quite common among students, especially those who study Social Sciences. By reading this article, you will learn the most important information about the Chicago Manual of Style, including formatting guides and Chicago style citations. By knowing the format, you will be able to take on any writing task in the academic field confidently and proficiently.

What is Chicago Style?

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS),  also known as the Turabian format, is commonly used in the publications of social sciences and historical journals. The manual was originally published in 1906. More than a century later, it has now reached its 17th edition. Chicago style format is considered one of the most widely used and respected formatting styles in the United States. There are two Chicago Manual Styles: the Notes-Bibliography System and the Author-Notes System. The first is often used in such areas as Arts, Literature, and History, while the second is mostly employed in Social Sciences.

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How to Write in Chicago Style?

The Chicago Style Format is quite comprehensive and clear when it comes to text formatting, citations, and quotations. There is another slightly different version of the Chicago formatting style, the Turabian, which is mostly aimed at students and researchers and also offers specific guidelines for formatting papers and essays.

The main rules for Chicago style are the following:

  • Clear font. Times New Roman 12pt font is recommended;
  • Double spaced—except for block quotes;
  • 1” margins;
  • No spaces between paragraphs;
  • Page numbers can be placed either on the top right or bottom center of the page;
  • Do not number the title page. The first page of your essay should begin with a 2;
  • Chicago format requires footnotes for paraphrased or quoted passages.

 

As for the structure, any work done in Chicago Style Format is divided into three parts: the Title Page, the Main Body, and the Bibliography. The title page should be the first cover page of the essay, the main body should follow, and the Chicago style bibliography should include all the citations that you used for your research. 

Elements of Chicago Style Format

Papers completed in Chicago style always consist of numerous elements, including a title page, headings, quotes, footnotes, endnotes, etc. Each element of the paper should be organized and formatted properly according to the latest version of the Chicago/Turabian style manual.

In this section of our guide, we are going to look closer at each element present in this style, and define the key rules and suggestions regarding the proper formatting.

Chicago Style Title Page

In a nutshell, a title or cover page of a written work is the first page used to specify the title, subtitle, author, and other relevant information regarding the paper. Simply put, it is the introduction to your paper. The  Chicago or Turabian format manual requires following specific rules to structure and format this page.

Do my essay online always encourages students to double-check specific requirements with their teacher in order to structure their title page right. However, in general, the rules are as follow:

  • Write the title in the middle of the page. If it is longer than one line, it must be double spaced.
  • Center your full name in the middle of the page.
  • Put your course number, your instructor’s name, and the date at the bottom of the page. These should be in separate double spaced lines.
  • All the text on the title page needs to be aligned in the center and double spaced.
  • The title page should not have a page number.

Body of the Text

The largest and the most important part of every academic paper is its main body. That’s where an author is supposed to disclose the topic, state the key ideas, and provide valid arguments and proof to support his claims. Needless to say that the Chicago style formatting guide implies following certain rules for organizing this part of your text. Our admission essay writing service experts have summarised the general requirements and suggestions that apply to the main body of the text:

  • Headline-style capitalization should be used for all titles located in the paper, notes, and bibliography.
  • Use italics or quotation marks for titles located in the paper, notes, and bibliography, depending on the type of source:
  • Italicized: All titles of large works such as periodicals or books; long poems; and plays.
  • Taken into quotation marks: All titles of short works such as articles or chapters.
  • Taken into double quotation marks: Titles of the majority of poems (except the long ones).
  • Other cases: When it comes to other types of titles that don’t fall into any of the above-mentioned categories, the Chicago style format suggests to take a minimalist approach to capitalization. Thus, be sure to use uppercase only when there is a need for this. Also, don’t use quotation marks or italics when there is no need for that.
  • The format of quotes should be used properly depending on the quote length. It is required to use the blockquote style for all quotes that are longer than five lines. Further in this guide, we will look at this point in more detail.

Chicago Style Heading

In Chicago Style Format, headings should use headline-style for the purpose of capitalization. In your work, you may use various levels for your headings and subheadings, and it is important to make it clear which type of heading each one is. All headings of the same level should have the same format. For example, you may use a large font to create a heading for chapters, bold font to indicate section headings, and italics for subheadings.

Chicago Style Block Quotes 

Use block quotes if you need to insert any quotes of five lines or more (or more than 100 words)—or poetry quotes of two lines or more.

Please note there are no quotation marks in block quotes. Use a blank line to separate a block quote from the surrounding text on both the top and bottom. Block quotes are also marked by an additional ½ inch margin on each side. Unlike the rest of the text, they are not double spaced but single-spaced.

 

Sample of Block Quotes

Numbers and Acronyms 

If you need to use numbers in your paper, it is vital to follow specific rules defined in the style manual. Namely, the style guide suggests using words instead of numerals for all numbers that are below 100.

 

For example:

Use “twenty-five” instead of “25”

 

The exception of this rule is the case when you refer to a certain measurement. In this case, you should use numerals instead of words.

 

For example:

Use “47 pounds” instead of “forty-seven pounds”

 

When it comes to acronyms, the Chicago format requires explaining them to readers when you mention them for the first time in your text.

 

For example:

According to the APA (American Psychological Association), etc.

 

All the further mentions in text don’t need an explanation. So, once you specify what a particular acronym stands for when referring to it in text for the first time, further on you can simply use that same acronym alone.

 

Concerning both numbers and acronyms, it is required that you don’t write them right at the beginning of a sentence. It is suggested to rewrite such sentences so that numbers and acronyms would appear elsewhere like here:

 

Instead of “360 respondents provided data for the study,” write “The study collected data from 360 respondents.”

Instead of “APA has several research-focused groups,” write “Several research-focused groups emerged from the APA organization.”

 

Or you can leave a number or acronym at the beginning of a sentence if you write out the full number of the full phrase:

 

“Three hundred sixty respondents provided data for the study.”

“American Psychological Association has several research-focused groups.”

Footnotes and Endnotes in Chicago Style Format

Footnotes and endnotes often appear in Chicago/Turabian style papers. They are used to cite references or to comment on the part of the text where they are used. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page while endnotes appear at the end of the work. Footnotes are mostly used in scholarly works because they are easy to use for quick referencing and can also be used to add extra tidbits of information that are not necessarily needed but might be interesting for the reader. Endnotes are used in long texts with a large number of citations. Students often prefer footnotes to long and confusing bibliography pages, as they include more information.

The main principles of footnotes and endnotes:

  • They are mostly used to reference pieces of work in the text.
  • A superscript number is placed after a quote or a paraphrase to cite a source.
  • Sequential order should be used for citation numbers.
  • Each number should correspond to a citation, a footnote, or an endnote.
  • Endnotes should be placed onto an endnotes page. The page should be titled. It should appear before the bibliography page.
  • Chicago style footnotes must be at the bottom of the page where they are referred to.  

Example of a footnote:

1Jan Hudson, “Chicago/Turabian: Why You Should Use It”. New York Times publication, 2003. Although they are used in the Chicago/Turabian style, they are often used in other citation styles.

Chicago Style Bibliography or Reference List

Chicago style papers usually end with a bibliography where the writer lists all the sources they used while writing the paper—including the ones cited in the footnotes. Chicago style bibliographies should:

  • Be titled “Bibliography” at the top center of the page
  • Have their entries listed in alphabetical order
  • Include all the works cited in the paper—and may include other relevant sources
  • Bibliographies and reference lists are not double spaced, but a blank line between entries should be left

Chicago Style In-Text Citations 

The Chicago Manual of Style suggests authors use any of the two appropriate citation styles: the notes and bibliography style or the author-date style.


The author-date style implies locating all your citations right within the text, taking them in parentheses. As you can get from the name, this style requires you to indicate the name of the author and the publication date of the source to which you refer in the text. There are several ways to use such citations in a paper:


According to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925),


In the Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald 1925),


Another citation style you may use is the notes and bibliography style. Using this style, authors have to indicate their in-text references with a relevant number and provide a citation for each number in either footnotes or endnotes. The numbers should be located at the end of a sentence or clause consisting of the information that belongs to an external source, after any punctuation mark except a dash.


What is the difference between the endnotes and footnotes? Earlier in our guide, do my paper experts explained footnotes and endnotes in detail. In brief, they are the same in formatting. The only difference is that footnotes appear at the bottom of each page, whereas endnotes are gathered separately on their own page that comes just before the bibliography. Regardless of whether you decide to use endnotes or footnotes, keep in mind that each Chicago style citation should also have a relevant entry on the bibliography page.


Which style to choose? Generally, both styles are acceptable and widely used in Chicago style papers. That is, there are no strict rules or recommendations on which one to choose. Thus, the choice is up to you. The main thing to keep in mind is that your citations have to be consistent throughout the whole paper. This means that if you decide to use the author-date style, be sure to use it in the entire work, and the same applies to the notes and bibliography style.

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FAQ

Is Chicago Style Double Spaced?

Yes, the Chicago style format implies that most of the text should be consistently double-spaced. However, some exceptions apply to this rule. Authors should use double space everywhere except for notes, block quotations, bibliography entries, figure captions, and table titles.

Do You Need to Indicate Page Numbers in Chicago Style?

Yes. Every page in your paper should have an indicated number. The only exception that applies to this rule is your title page, which does not need to have a number. Since the title page doesn’t have a number, authors are required to index the first page that follows after the title page with the number 2.

How Do You Insert Page Numbers in Chicago Style?

According to the style manual, you should indicate pages with Arabic numbers, starting at the first page after your title page with the number 2. The most standard location for page numbers is in the top right of the page, one inch from the side, and one inch from the top of the page.

Does Chicago Style Have a Title Page?

Yes, all papers in this format should begin with a title page. The title page should include the title of your work in the middle of the page, followed by your full name also in the middle of the page. At the bottom of the title page, there also should be your course number, instructor’s name, and the date - all located on separate lines and double-spaced.

Should Page Numbers Be at the Top or Bottom?

As was mentioned earlier, the most common way to locate numbers on the page is by placing them in the upper right corner. However, you may also locate page numbers at the center of the bottom of the page. Regardless of which option you choose, the main rule is to make the location of page numbers consistent throughout the entire paper.

What Is the Latest Chicago Manual of Style?

The latest Chicago Manual of Style available today is the 17th edition published in 2017. This manual contains a complete guide to the proper Chicago paper format, including the latest requirements, suggestions, and rules concerning the style, organization, structure, and format of papers.

Did this Chicago/Turabian Style Guide Help You?

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