Ibid: Examples of Usage

The word ibid is short for the Latin word ibidem, meaning “in the same place.” Modern writers use it in reference notes on a larger written work, giving details about the origin of information used in the larger text.

When two consecutive notes come from the same place, the word ibid. is used for the second note. This saves writing the whole note out again and directs the reader to the same place that was just referred to in order to find the information. Ibid. is an abbreviation of a longer word, so it always has a period after it.

open book with ibid. footnote open book with ibid. footnote

The following ibid. examples obey The Chicago Manual of Style guide. In Chicago style, works can be cited in either footnotes or endnotes; it’s up to the author. Be sure to consult your editor or teacher for what style they expect. Note that APA style doesn’t use ibid. and the most recent MLA style guide now discourages the use of Latin abbreviations like ibid.

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Examples of Ways Ibid. Can Be Used

Ibid. in a bibliography always refers to further citations of the same source, but it can be cited in different ways.

First Use of Source. Full Bibliography. One Page Number.

When two or more consecutive notes come from the exact same page number in the same source, a full bibliography is used, and it is the first note citing that particular source, refer to the following example:

1. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 471

2. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to page 471 of Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina.

Example:

5. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 54.

6. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to page 54 of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter. Thanks to the full bibliography, only the author’s name and the title of the work are needed.

First Use of Source. Full Bibliography. More than One Page Number.

If the situation is the same as above, but more than one page number is referenced, use the following format:

112. Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, 110-112

113. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to pages 110-112 of Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma. Even though the note refers to more than one page, ibid. may still be used as long as the page numbers are the same in the consecutive notes.

In all of the above examples, the place of publication, publishing company, and year of publication are not listed in the note because they will be found in the bibliography. The author's full name is given because it is the first reference to their work.

Second Use of Source. Full Bibliography. One Page Number.

When two or more consecutive notes come from the exact same page number in the same source, and a full bibliography is used, and it is not the first note citing that particular source, use the following example. It differs from the first example in that it only includes the last name of the author since the author’s full name would have been provided in the earlier note.

Example:

10. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 471.

11. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to page 471 of Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina.

Example:

9. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 54.

10. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to page 54 of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter.

In the above two examples, the publication information is not listed in the note because it will be found in the bibliography. Only the author's last name is given because this work has been referenced in earlier notes.

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Second Use of Source. Full Bibliography. More than One Page Number

If the situation is the same as above; however, more than one page number is referenced, use the following example:

112. Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 110-112.

113. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to pages 110-112 of Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma. The publishing company and year of publication are not listed in the note because they will be found in the bibliography. Only the author's last name and a shortened version of the title are given because this work has been referenced in earlier notes.

Even though the note refers to more than one page, ibid. may still be used as long as the page numbers are the same in the consecutive notes.

Multiple Use of Source. No Full Bibliography. One Page Number.

When two or more consecutive notes come from the exact same page number in the same source, and a full bibliography is not used, and it is the first note citing that particular source:

1. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (New York: New American Library, 1961), 471.

2. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to page 471 of Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina.

Example:

9. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (New York: Bantam, 1965), 54.

10. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to page 54 of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book The Scarlet Letter.

In both of the above examples, the place of publication, publishing company, and year of publication are listed in the note because a full bibliography is not used and because it is the first reference to this work.

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Multiple Use of Source. No Full Bibliography. More than One Page Number.

If the situation is the same as above, but more than one page number is referenced, refer to the following example:

112. Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (New York: Penguin, 2006), 110-112.

113. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to pages 110-112 of Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Even though the note refers to more than one page, ibid may still be used as long as the page numbers are the same in the consecutive notes.

Consecutive Uses of Source. No Full Bibliography. One Page Number.

When two or more consecutive notes come from the exact same page number in the same source, and a full bibliography is not used, and it is not the first note citing that particular source, use the following example:

1. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 471.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

This means that all three notes refer to page 471 of Leo Tolstoy's book Anna Karenina. Place of publication, publishing company, and year of publication are not listed in the note because it is not the first reference to this work. The details of the source can be found in the first note. Only the author's last name is used for this same reason; it is appropriate to use a shortened note.

Example:

9. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 54.

10. Ibid.

This means that both notes refer to page 54 of Nathaniel Hawthorne's book The Scarlet Letter. Place of publication, publishing company, and year of publication are not listed in the note because it is not the first reference to this work. The details of the source can be found in the first note. Only the author's last name is used for the same reason; it is appropriate to use a shortened note.

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Consecutive Uses of Source. No Full Bibliography. More than One Page Number.

When two or more consecutive notes come from the exact same page numbers in the same source, and a full bibliography is not used, and it is not the first note citing that particular source, and more than one page number is referenced, use the following example:

112. Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 110-112.

113. Ibid.

114. Ibid.

This means that all three notes refer to pages 110-112 of Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma. Place of publication, publishing company, and year of publication are not listed in the note because it is not the first reference to this work. The details of the source can be found in the first note. Only the author's last name and a shortened version of the title are used for this same reason; it is appropriate to use a shortened note. Even though the note refers to more than one page, ibid. may still be used as long as the page numbers are the same in the consecutive notes.

Consecutive Uses of Source. No Full Bibliography. Different Page Numbers.

When two or more consecutive notes come from the same source but occur on different page numbers, refer to the following examples:

1. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 471.

2. Ibid., 501.

3. Ibid., 606.

12. Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 23.

13. Ibid, 41.

34. Irma S. Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1941), 271.

35. Ibid., 302.

36. Ibid., 319.

In all three examples ibid. indicates that the author and title are the same, but the page number is different. Other details as mentioned above remain the same.

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Not First Use of Source. Different Page Numbers. Interspersed with Other Sources.

When multiple notes refer to the same page in the same work, but notes referring to other works are interspersed:

1. Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 25.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid., 41

4. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 101.

5. Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 123.

Even though The Great Gatsby is referenced in notes 1-3, the same details must still be listed in note 5 since note 4 refers to a different work.

Example:

6. Irma S. Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1941), 25.

7. Ibid., 51.

8. C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (New York: Scribner, 1938), 11.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid, 18.

11. Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking, 41.

12. Ibid., 92 - 95.

Even though The Joy of Cooking is referenced in notes 6-7, the author and title must still be listed in notes 11-12 since notes 8-10 refer to a different work. However, since the full name of the author and publishing company have already been used, a shortened note is appropriate.

Not First Use of Source. Different Page Numbers of Same Source. Separated by Many Pages.

When a work has already been cited once, and two consecutive notes refer to that work, but are separated by many pages in a larger text, use the following example:

1. Cervantes, Don Quixote, 400.

2. Ibid., 501.

3. Ibid., 606.

12. Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, 8.

13. Ibid, 91.

34. John Steinbeck, East of Eden (New York: Penguin Classics, 2016), 49.

35. Ibid., 81.

36. Ibid., 100.

Even though many pages separate the individual notes, ibid. can still be used because notes referencing other works do not interrupt the notes referencing the same work. Only the page numbers need to be adjusted.

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A Matter of Form

Using the correct form to suit your written work is vital for clarity, rigor and academic success. Better yet, even seemingly obscure rules of writing like the proper use of ibid. can be easily understood with a few concrete examples.

For more fundamentals of formal writing, take a look at our examples of works cited pages.

More Helpful Resources

Visit our sister site Bibliography.com for additional articles on how to cite your sources correctly.