So the English class teacher is teaching IEEE referencing style, and we have something like this as an example:

Chan [1] claims that...

The teacher said:

The referencing number is followed by the author's last name.

Wait... I thought "A is followed by B" means B follows A, that means A comes first, B comes next.

Has the teacher made an obvious mistake, or is it my fault? (Could I have misheard that?)

  • 4
    Either is possible: you may have misheard, or the statement made was wrong. Certainly the number follows the name in your example. – Andrew Leach Feb 27 '13 at 15:25

There's a chance the teacher was explaining how the reference is formatted at the end of the paper. From an IEEE citation reference guide:

[1] B. Klaus and P. Horn, Robot Vision. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1986.
[2] L. Stein, “Random patterns,” in Computers and You, J. S. Brake, Ed. New York: Wiley, 1994, pp. 55-70.
[3] R. L. Myer, “Parametric oscillators and nonlinear materials,” in Nonlinear Optics, vol. 4, P. G. Harper and B. S. Wherret, Eds. San Francisco, CA: Academic, 1977, pp. 47-160.

Once you're at the end of the paper (as opposed to in the body of the text), the referencing number is followed by the author's name – just like the teacher said.

But your understanding of is followed by is correct.

  • 1
    I really need to read up on the fundamental insolvability of determining simultaneity between unrelated reference frames. :) – tchrist Feb 27 '13 at 15:37
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    @tchrist: I think there's an expression for that – great minds think alike? – J.R. Feb 27 '13 at 15:40

A normal use has the name following the reference number when used in the footnote or bibliography.

Chan [1] claims that bound morphemes form an independent class in all PIE-derived languages.

  1. Jeremiah P. Chan in “Rethinking morphemic class assignment in Proto-Indo-European” in Proceeding of the American Linguistic Society, June 2015 (Boston).

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