If I’ve cited a source in footnote 1, can I cite the source later in my paper by referring to the same footnote?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

The source in the footnote might be better placed in the text, because MLA style uses in-text citations to refer to individual sources. See section 3.5 of the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook for how to cite a source repeatedly in the text.

A note may be used instead of an in-text citation if the note includes many sources or significant annotation that would clutter the text. See our post “Using Notes in MLA Style” for more on when to use notes.

If citations are consistently placed in notes, then a repeated citation would require a new note. Note numbers are not reused in an essay in MLA style; instead, notes are numbered consecutively, as recommended by The Chicago Manual of Style (“Sequencing of Note Numbers”).

Works Cited

MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2016. 

“Sequencing of Note Numbers and Symbols.” Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed., sec. 14.25, U of Chicago P, 2017, www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/book/ed17/part3/ch14/psec025.html.