Note: sorry for cross-posting from Writers.SE, but I can't seem to get a definite answer.

How do I designate the footnotes that are mine inside a quote?

I tried "our note", "note ours" and "remark is ours". Which one is the correct one and most commonly used? Or is there some other way?

For example:

He provides an argument for it:
"Before the Greeks, the ancient Egyptians used it[1] in the construction of their great pyramids."

[1] The Golden Section — note ours. ← this is my note, not the original author's

So you can see there is my note inside a quote.

Or if I have something without a footnote.

He provides an argument for it:
"Before the Greeks, the ancient Egyptians used it (Golden Section — note ours) in the construction of their great pyramids."

Note where I use "note ours", to clarify that "it" is a "Golden Section".


5 Answers 5


What about Author's Note?

It's generally something written at the beginning or in the end of text, but I've read that it can be used as footnote as well. I'll edit if I find more info.

EDIT: Check here.

  • Yes, I know that it is used in the beginning of the text - but I've yet to find it used in the book :-) Apr 19, 2011 at 23:22
  • @drozzy: I've seen "Editor's Note(s)" in the footnotes of many books... Jul 18, 2011 at 1:08

I've seen "[my italics]" and "[italics mine]" before, when the author is making a distinction that he/she has italicized a portion of a quoted passage (as opposed to the original author), so I assume you could use "note mine" or "my note"...

...but isn't the normal assumption with a footnote or endnote that it is by the author of the work being read, and not the author of the quote? This should be especially true with footnotes/endnotes. If you want to be clear with inline notes, I would use brackets [] and not parentheses, and consider using your name or initials in a way that sounds like it is not blending into the surrounding context, e.g.

He provides an argument for it:

"Before the Greeks, the ancient Egyptians used it [jms: author is referring to the Golden Section] in the construction of their great pyramids."

This way if someone is confused, they get a cue that the interruption comes from you and not the original author.


I always thought that the use of [] implied an authorial note.

Here is an example from APA style:

[Add note]. A clarification may be inserted in a quote. This is added in brackets at the appropriate place. For example, the local authority reported "they [the Irish Republican Army] called for a cease-fire."

Notice that the author is making no mention that he [the author] made the quote, because it is implied. The usage however, may depend on what style manual you are using.


The way I have always seen this to use the brackets as shown. Then, if the brackets were in the original, to footnote or add an additional bracketed phrase to say that.

The Egyptians used it [the Golden Section] to construct pyramids.

The Egyptians used it [the Golden Section]1 to construct pyramids.
1 Correction in original.

Anything not so marked may be attributed to you.


In a book of mine I did this (and explained it at the beginning): Unsigned footnotes are from the original; some footnotes are marked "—Tr" for "translator"; and some footnotes are marked "—Ed" for "editor" (or "Edgar").

  • But I am an author - not an editor or translator. Thanks for the answer. Nov 10, 2011 at 16:11

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