How to Write an Endnote in APA Style

by Grace Riley, Demand Media

The sixth edition of the American Psychological Association’s publication manual describes two types of endnotes: content and copyright notes. Since APA style requires writers to identify their sources in parenthetical citations, the style guide recommends using endnotes only when necessary. When an author wants to express peripheral information that would disrupt the fluidity of his paper, he can cite it in an endnote. Content and copyright endnotes contain distinct kinds of information, and they have equally distinct formats.

Superscript Numbers

According to APA style, a writer should indicate an endnote in his composition by inserting a superscript Arabic numeral after the related text. The numeral should follow the punctuation mark that ends the relevant section of text, even if it is in the middle of a sentence. Dashes are a lone exception; endnote numbers should precede dashes.

Creating a Superscript Number

Microsoft Word has an endnote function, which users can find under “References” in the “Insert” tab. Selecting the endnote function will automatically enter the succeeding endnote number in superscript wherever the cursor is flashing in the text. If a writer is using a program that does not have an endnote function, he can create the entry manually by typing the numeral in the desired location, highlighting it with the cursor, and selecting “Character” in the “Format” tab. The “Character” dialog box will present the user with the option to change the highlighted character’s position.

The Notes Page

The writer should list APA endnotes on a designated page that follows his references list. The title, “Notes,” should be centered on the first line of the page without quotation marks, emboldening, underlining or italicizing. Each endnote should be indented and begin with its respective superscript numeral. The note should be typed in the regular format; only the endnote number should be superscript.

Content Endotes

Content notes generally refer readers to additional sources, containing a definition or expressing the author’s commentary. APA encourages writers to be brief in their content notes, suggesting that they focus on one idea and limit the length to one or two sentences. When referring to another work, writers must include the author’s last name followed by the work’s publication year in parentheses. For example: 5 See Agee (1941) for a richer and more poetic description of the sharecropping experience. A resource referenced in an endnote should appear on the references list even if it was not cited in the main text.

Copyright Endnotes

“Fair Use” copyright laws require a writer to obtain permission before he reprints a quote of 500 words or more. Copyright endnotes indicate that a writer obtained the requisite permission. Each copyright entry should include the word “Note” before the indentation. On the notes page, the numerals at the beginning of every endnote—content and copyright notes—should align on the page despite the inclusion of “Note” in copyright entries. The identifying information for the referenced material should occur in a specific order: article title in quotation marks (when relevant), author’s name, publication year, book or periodical title (italicized), then relevant page numbers. Commas should separate each component, and a period should follow the page numbers. Then, writers should state the copyright year and holder. The endnote should conclude with the phrase “Reprinted with permission.” For example: 5 From “Fighting the New War,” by John J. Pershing, 1918, Generals Monthly (italicized), p. 75-77. Copyright 1918 by J. J. Pershing. Reprinted with permission.

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About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

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