In this answer, it is suggested that the Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) specifies whether spaces precede a footnote indicator. The main three choices I see being:

  • Here is no space.1
  • Here is a hair space. 2
  • Here is a full space. 3

I'd like to know where in the CMoS it specifies which style to use and which of the three it suggests or discusses (I believe it is without space, but would like to confirm with a cite).

Note that Wikipedia has standardized on no space or a hair space.

  • The answer to which you link doesn’t say anything about CMoS that I can find. There’s a comment from a long-time editor who says he’s never seen a manual recommending a space. So, no space.
    – Xanne
    Sep 29, 2020 at 0:26
  • @Xanne The answer says in part: "It depends on your referencing methods - APA, MLA, Oxford, Harvard, Chicago, etc." (Emphasis added.)
    – WilliamKF
    Sep 29, 2020 at 15:18
  • @Xanne, Yes, I saw the comment from long-time editor, but they do not say where the guide recommends no space. I'd like to find a cite that says CMoS says no space before footnote as opposed to being silent on the issue and folks presuming that means no space.
    – WilliamKF
    Sep 29, 2020 at 15:20
  • 4
    I’m voting to close this question because I cannot see how a style guide's view on spacing can be within the remit of this site.
    – David
    Sep 29, 2020 at 17:01
  • 1
    @David Is there a better StackExchange to migrate this question to?
    – WilliamKF
    Sep 29, 2020 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


Chicago Manual of Style features many examples of footnotes without spaces, and says nothing to contradict that practice. Also, from over a decade of experience with Chicago, I understand footnotes should follow directly after what they note without a space.

All of these examples of usage are in 14.26: Placement of note number in the online version of the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. I have preserved the spacing exactly, only adding some superscript code (<sup></sup>) so it appears correctly in StackExchange:

“This,” wrote George Templeton Strong, “is what our tailors can do.”1

It was the hour of “national paths” toward socialism;9 but that expression, which turned out to be temporary, was more an incantation than a discovery.

The bias was apparent in the Shotwell series3—and it must be remembered that Shotwell was a student of Robinson’s.


(In an earlier book he had said quite the opposite.)2

Men and their unions, as they entered industrial work, negotiated two things: young women would be laid off once they married (the commonly acknowledged “marriage bar”1), and men would be paid a “family wage.”


The Chicago Manual of Style states that:

A note number should be placed at the end of a sentence or at the end of a clause. The number follows any punctuation mark, except for the dash, which it precedes. It follows a closing parenthesis.

That's section 16.30 in CMoS, 15th edition.

Seems pretty definitive to me.

  • 1
    Why the downvote? This is the answer. If it’s because you believe the question should not have been answered, that’s fine. There’s a whole CMoS section on Notes. It’s a question of how to locate the information. Other answers seem to infer by example.
    – Xanne
    Oct 1, 2020 at 8:47
  • It would be nice if CMoS had stated explicitly that there is no space before, but then I guess they would have to say everything that is not there.... (Downvote was not me, I just upvoted it. I too wish folks would explain their downvotes, especially here on English stack exchange where I find unexplained down votes are so prevalent.)
    – WilliamKF
    Oct 2, 2020 at 17:21

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