I need to add a footnote to an item that appears twice in the same page.

For example, if I need to provide a footnote for the following bold terms:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do... Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit...

Do I need to call attention to the footnote in both instances where the text appears, or is it sufficient to only put a superscript (or other footnote indicator) next to the first instance on the page?

  • What do you mean by need? Language is essentially a tool rather than a taskmaster. Decide whether one or two references are (1) more helpful (2) more cluttered... Jun 25 '13 at 22:52

There are two possible ways in which your footnotes might be used.

  1. The reader follows the first reference to the bottom of the page and then returns to the text flow. When she meets the second instance of the term, she no longer needs the additional information and so your second indicator is wasted.
  2. The reader encounters the first footnoted instance of the term and ignores the indicator. He reads on to find the second instance. Since there is a high probability that he will ignore that as well, your second indicator is wasted.

Your practice should be to note the first instance only.


I think the correct format would be to footnote the first occurrence. It is pointlessly repetitious to footnote every occurrence of a footnotable word or phrase.

  • Yes. If the reader has read the footnote at the first occurrence, he will already know about dolor (in the example) at subsequent mentions. It's only necessary to explain things once.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 26 '13 at 13:07

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