I'm quoting a passage that includes a superscript indicating a footnote. I'm not quoting the footnote, however. What do I do? If I leave the superscript in, it's distracting, since it suggests that there's a footnote to be found in my paper--at the very least, the reader will probably wonder about that for a brief moment. If I delete the superscript but don't indicate that I've done so, I'm misrepresenting the original text. If I replace the superscript with an ellipsis, that would normally convey that there's more missing than a mere superscript.

(My apologies if this is a duplicate. It's impossible construct a search that would find an existing answer to this question.)

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    I'd change the superscript from say [6] to [i], include the footnote, and add an explanation differentiating your footnotes( [1], [2] ...) from quoted ones. Unless the person I was working for told me different. Jun 10, 2015 at 22:08
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    If you add emphasis in the quoted text, you can append “(emphasis mine)” to the quote; likewise, I usually just add “(footnotes excluded)” from quotes when I quote something without including the footnotes that may be present in the text I’m quoting. Jun 10, 2015 at 22:35
  • @Janus If the author thinks it important to add the footnotes, it's going to be a rare case where omitting them in a quote neither skews the text nor removes valuable references. Though I admit to doing it myself (references only) in 'comments'. Jun 10, 2015 at 22:38
  • I've never (or at least can't recall ever having) seen mention of footnotes or similar para-/metatextual stuff being left out. When people quote critical editions of, for instance, medieval texts that can have several footnotes on a single line in two-three separate series as well as italics/bold to indicate other, for instance, inferred or de-abbreviated text, the most common practice is to simply remove it without comment. Jun 10, 2015 at 22:45
  • @EdwinAshworth Depends on the science and the style guide of whatever you're quoting from. In particular, some older German books and articles are almost unquotable if you don't strip footnotes. Some have an average of two or three footnotes per line of text, most of them simply saying “Op.cit.” or “Loc.cit.”. Jun 10, 2015 at 22:45

1 Answer 1


The Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (2006)

See halfway down page 6, which states:

'If you omit citations or footnotes from a quotation, put '(citation(s) omitted)' or '(footnote(s) omitted)' after the source.'

I hope this is a satisfactory answer to your question.

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    Whaddyaknow, I've been following style guides all this time! Jun 10, 2015 at 22:46
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    This is also recommended by the Bluebook ("A Uniform System of Citation"), which is commonly used in American legal research & writing. libraryguides.nesl.edu/content.php?pid=358326&sid=2934959
    – jkp1187
    Jun 10, 2015 at 23:20
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    I don't recall ever seen this in writing in my field, but it seems like a safer alternative than simply deleting the note without comment. If I submit to a journal who's style guidelines say that you should silently delete the note symbol, I can consider that option at that stage.
    – Mars
    Jun 13, 2015 at 22:12

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