When citing from an inclusive range of two consecutive pages such as pages 25 and 26, one can write




I know this is a question of style, but I am having little luck with Google on this one. Is one much more common than the other? Is f only used with pages, or with lines of a poem and other references as well? Are there any rules which allow both to be used in different circumstances? Does CMoS have anything to say about this?

I am also aware of ff, but unlike f, there is no equivalent for “25ff” other than the strange-looking “25–” (no upper limit).


3 Answers 3


According to the MLA Style Manual , 3d ed., 8.4, f./ff. after a page or line number means “and the following page(s) or line(s)”, but the abbreviation is “no longer recommended”; explicit page numbers are called for, e.g. 25-26. (Note that MLA now also deprecates use of p. and pp.)

Folio (abbreviated fol., but again, the abbreviation is “no longer recommended”) designates either a book published in the bifolium format (each full sheet of paper folded once to produce four pages) or a leaf of a manuscript or book.

MLA does not provide a citation format for unpaginated MSS or books; traditionally, this is done by folio number followed by r (for recto, the front or right-hand page of the leaf) or v (for verso, the back or left-hand page of the leaf), thus: 12v-13r.

EDIT, to ameliorate the provinicialism of the foregoing:
MLA, the Modern Language Association, is the leading professional association of US scholars in critical and historical studies of modern languages, and its Style Manual is followed by most publishers in those fields.

  • 1
    +1 but what is "MLA"? // In manuscripts, it is rarely useful to number by folium/folio, so one just uses r and v to indicate a range, as in 32r–41v, or that's what I do. Jun 5, 2013 at 3:45

As I understand it, "pp 25 f" was a manuscript abbreviation of "pages 25-26", and pronounced (if necessary) as "pages 25 and following". When "f" was simpler to write than "-26", the abbreviation was useful: in these keyboard days, it seems a little affected to me. There was also "page 25 sq (sqq in plural)", or sometimes et seq, but really those are of interest only to historians.

By the way, folio was something different. A folio was a way of measuring books without using page numbers, and there were various versions: for example, in old English law, it was 500 words or so (I don't remember the exact number, but it was chosen to be an hour's work for a copyist), and a case might be in Folio 27 of the All England Law Reports for 1867, which is on page 13 of the printed volume; abbreviated to All ER 1867 20F or (nowadays) All ER 1867 13.

  • I got “folio” from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/f. This is after all the reason I asked this question, but I find it hard to believe that 25f has been obsoleted when I see it in the indexes of books published this year.
    – mk12
    Jun 4, 2013 at 22:18
  • Also, I'm not sure how these keyboard days change anything – many still elide page rangers to save space, e.g., pp. 195–96. Using f would save even more space here.
    – mk12
    Jun 4, 2013 at 22:43

Every journal style sheet I have seen recently discourages use of f and ff. In this day of computerized bibliographies, with much bibliographic information coming from central databases, I think page range formats are headed for standardization away from use of f. This is all distinct from p. and pp., which are prepended regardless of the number or contiguity of the cited pages.

  • Thank you, this is the kind of thing I was looking for. I will probably accept it if there are no other answers. Are you aware of whether Chicago style discourages it as well? It is a bit difficult to search for this since it is a one letter abbreviation.
    – mk12
    Jun 4, 2013 at 23:04
  • In 'inline' citations, MLA now deprecates the use of p. and pp.: only the simple page number or range (25-6) is called for. Jun 4, 2013 at 23:16
  • Chicago 16th style and APA 4th style also omit p. and pp. This is all in reference, of course, to books and periodicals. Some sort of art collected into physical portfolios would be different and I have no experience citing anything like that. Jun 4, 2013 at 23:51

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