Top 7 CMS Errors You Are Making in Your First Ever Chicago Paper

While I may be terribly biased towards Chicago (It’s the best! The bees’ knees! And the cat’s pajamas!), here are some helpful tips for the top 7 errors you are probably making in your first ever Chicago paper:

  1. Parentheticals! Watch out for these—Chicago does not use any parentheticals for in-text citations; in fact, there are NO in-text citations at all in CMS.
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    Throw these out of your writing, and adopt the latest invention: footnotes![1]

  1. Footnotes and the bibliographical entries are not created equal! There are some small differences between these two entries, but they are NOT the same. Read your Chicago manual carefully to determine when to use a comma or a period, and when you need all of the page numbers in the book versus the page you are quoting. (Hint: commas go in footnotes, periods in the bibliography; all of the page numbers are needed for the bibliography, but only the page you are quoting on the page itself.)
  1. On that note, a bibliography and a works cited are NOT the same! You only use a bibliography in CMS, and only ever use a works cited in MLA.
  1. Watch your Ibid! You can ONLY use Ibid if you are quoting the same text as you just quoted in your previous footnote or endnote, not one from two pages ago. If you are quoting the same text that you did ten footnotes ago, you have to rewrite your footnotes’ entry.
  1. Cover that paper up! In Chicago, you will ALWAYS use a cover page, just as you NEVER use a cover page in MLA. Your cover page will contain all of the same information that your title page would in MLA, just organized differently. Make sure to check your Chicago Manual (or Hacker Reference) to get the scoop on how to do it.
  1. Leap Day in Chicago? Just like in MLA, right? No! In Chicago, you must write out the entire date, just as if you were writing a formal letter to your grandma. Leap Day in Chicago is beautiful: February 29, 2016, while Leap Day in MLA, is well, too short: 29 Feb 2016!
  2. Leave the “p.” or “pages” with APA! CMS does not use any “p.” or “page” for citing a page number: simply put your number and off you go.
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Maybe I’ve converted you to Chicago, maybe not—either way, these tips will get you heading in the right direction for your first (or second, or third, or 35th) Chicago paper.

If you have any other questions on Chicago, or any other citation style and how to use it, stop by and see us in Hill 102!

-Emily, peer tutor

[1] Just like this! Find your insert button, select “footnote,” and here you are. This is where you will put your footnote, though you can also use endnotes. They are exactly the same, except for where they are placed. If you don’t like text under the pretty line at the bottom of your page, use endnotes: they make their own page at the end of your paper, right before your bibliography.

Cite When You Write!

Have you ever been marked down on your papers for how you cited or failed to cite your sources? Does the mention of citations or working within the MLA style make you cringe? Have you used some awesome sources in you paper but are at a loss for how to cite them?

If so, this blog post is for you!

I’m going to lay out some helpful tips for citing sources so that instead of feeling frustrated and angry…


…you can be proud of what you have accomplished!


Today I’m going to talk about how to cite a website in MLA, because MLA is potentially the most common citation style–and websites can be frustrating because they all seem so different. (If you need to cite in APA or CMS, here are some really helpful links: the Chicago Manual of Style and the Purdue Lab.)

We know that citations can seem confusing with all the different styles and rules for formatting but citation is mostly about finding information and plugging it into a formula. It can be tedious but here are some tricks that can help you finish up your stellar paper:

  • Take note of the date you access websites as you do your research.
  • Take note of the author or editor, the article title or website title, the website sponsor (who makes the website possible) and the most recent date it has been updated.

Now that we have the preliminary steps out of the way, we can put all of the information we have gathered into an MLA citation. This is how we order all of the information:

  1. the author or editor
  2. the article title or website title
  3. the website sponsor
  4. the most recent date
  5. the medium of publication (which is always Web when referring to any information found on the internet)
  6. the date of access.

For example:

Fraunheim, Ed. “Stop Reading This Headline and Get Back to Work.” CNET

CNET Networks, 11 July 2005. Web. 17 Feb. 2009.

Based on the information you have gathered, all you need to do is insert it into this formula! You have done most of the work already, so…

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Citing an Entire Website

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory. Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003. Web. 10 May


Citing a Page on a Website (like a blog post or a recipe)

“How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.

  • (List the author, if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites.)

More handy tips:

  • If you can’t find some aspect of the information, the formula stays the same and you just insert what you do have.
  • Italicize the website title.
  • The page title or article title is in quotation marks.
  • Make sure you pay attention to the punctuation!
  • Always double space when using MLA.
  • The first line of each entry is at the left margin; extra lines are indented ½ an inch.
  • You don’t have to include the URL of the website unless your professor asks you to!
  • If no publisher name is available then use n.p. and if no publishing date is given then use n.d. (as illustrated above).

Now that you know how to better cite your information, you are on the way to even greater success with your writing!

If you have any questions about citations or formatting or just need some help brainstorming, your friendly writing center is always here to help!

-Sarah, peer tutor