TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This probably also could go to English.SE, but I'm not sure.

When I want to cite a source for a complete sentence, you put the citation before or after the period?

And if you cite for a word, or figure, do you put it before or after the comma?

Please bear in mind my citations are not superscripted, here's an example:

appropriate awards and punishments[4, p.415].


appropriate awards and punishments.[4, p.415]


when, on January 28[3, p.4],


when, on January 28,[3, p.4]

I have a feeling that for facts I should put it right behind the fact and before the comma, while for sentences it should be after the period, but I do not know for sure.

share|improve this question
In any case you should put a space (even better a nonbreaking space, that is ~) before the reference! – Daniel Nov 10 '11 at 22:01
I concur with @Daniel, unless the citation is superscript. I always put them inside punctuation. – qubyte Nov 10 '11 at 22:05
Yes, now that I have done that, it shows that it's much nicer to put the citation inside the punctuation. It shows much better what text the citation belongs to. Thanks :D – Zsub Nov 10 '11 at 22:08
up vote 34 down vote accepted

Until now, I have never spotted non-superscript citation marks after a comma or period. In addition, the marks should be separated by a normal interword space or a non-breaking space, i.e.

appropriate awards and punishments [4, p.415].


when, on January 28 [3, p.4],

See page 2 of this PracTeX Journal article for another example.

share|improve this answer
Thank you :) (filler) – Zsub Nov 10 '11 at 22:25

While it seems that @lockstep’s answer describes the more common stlye, there are also style guides that suggest to treat citations like footnote markers: If they refer to the whole sentence, put them after the full stop.

One example is the Vancouver style.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.