What Does "Ibid." Mean and How to Use It: Essential Rules and Examples

Written By: Peggy J. Paquin
Published On: July 9,2023


When it comes to academic writing, adhering to proper citation guidelines is crucial. One commonly encountered term is "ibid.," which may leave many students puzzled. Understanding its meaning and knowing how to use it correctly can greatly enhance your scholarly writing. In this blog post, we will delve into the definition of "ibid." and provide essential rules and examples to help you master its usage. Whether you are writing an essay, research paper, or any other academic work, this knowledge will elevate your writing and ensure accurate referencing.


What Does "Ibid." Mean? :

"Ibid." is an abbreviation that originates from the Latin term "ibidem," which translates to "in the same place." In academic writing, it serves as a shorthand way to refer to a source that has been previously cited in the immediately preceding footnote or endnote. When you use "ibid.," you are indicating that the source being referenced is the same as the one mentioned earlier, but with a different page number.

This term proves to be particularly useful when you need to cite multiple references from the same source consecutively. Instead of repeating the full citation for each subsequent reference, you can simply utilize "ibid." to streamline your citations and maintain a concise and efficient citation style.

By employing "ibid.," you create a clear link between the current citation and the preceding one, indicating that they are from the same source. However, it is important to note that the page number may differ, reflecting a new section, paragraph, or specific information within the source that you wish to cite.

The purpose of using "ibid." is twofold: it saves space by avoiding redundant information and assists readers in locating the cited material easily. Academic writing often involves numerous citations, and employing "ibid." helps maintain a coherent and organized structure within your work.

To ensure the accurate usage of "ibid.," it is essential to follow specific rules, such as including the full citation of the source the first time it is mentioned, correctly formatting subsequent citations with "ibid." followed by a comma, and providing the appropriate page number when it differs from the previous citation.

In summary, "ibid." is a valuable tool in academic writing, allowing you to refer back to a previously cited source with a different page number. By utilizing this abbreviation correctly, you can enhance the efficiency and readability of your citations, ensuring that your work adheres to the established standards of scholarly writing.


Rules for Using "Ibid." : 

  • Include the full citation of the source the first time it is mentioned in a footnote or endnote: When you introduce a source for the first time in your writing, provide a complete citation that includes the author's name, the title of the work, the publication details (such as the city, publisher, and year), and the specific page number(s) you are referencing. This initial citation establishes the full reference for the source.

Example: Smith, John. The History of Science. New York: ABC Publishing, 2022, p. 27.

  • When citing the same source immediately after the initial citation, use "ibid." followed by a comma: If you need to cite the same source again in the immediately following footnote or endnote, use "ibid." to indicate that it refers to the same work as the previous citation. Place a comma after "ibid." to separate it from the subsequent information, which will indicate any changes in page number(s).

Example: Ibid., p. 35.

  • If the subsequent citation refers to the same page as the previous citation, simply write "ibid.": If the information you are citing in the subsequent reference is on the same page as the previous citation from the same source, you can simply write "ibid." without specifying the page number again. This signifies that the citation is from the same location within the source.

Example: Ibid.

  • If the subsequent citation refers to a different page, include the page number after "ibid.": If the information you are citing in the subsequent reference is located on a different page from the previous citation, include the specific page number(s) after "ibid." Use "p." for a single page or "pp." for a range of pages.

Example: Ibid., p. 55. Ibid., pp. 55-57.

  • If you cite another source between the initial citation and subsequent "ibid." citation, use the author's last name, a shortened title, and the page number. Avoid using "ibid." in such cases: If you introduce a different source between the initial citation and the subsequent citation where you would normally use "ibid.," provide the author's last name, a shortened version of the title, and the page number(s) to ensure clarity. In this scenario, it is important to avoid using "ibid." and opt for a proper citation.

Example: Smith, John. The History of Science. New York: ABC Publishing, 2022, p. 27. Johnson, Emily. Advances in Biology. Boston: XYZ Press, 2023, p. 42. Smith, John. The History of Science, p. 35.


By adhering to these rules, you can accurately and effectively use "ibid." in your citations, providing concise and precise references in your academic writing. Remember, the purpose of using "ibid." is to save space, maintain clarity, and facilitate easy navigation for your readers within your work.

Examples of Using "Ibid.":

To illustrate the proper usage of "ibid.," consider the following examples:

  • Initial citation:

Book: Author's Last Name, Title of Book (City of Publication: Publisher, Year), page number.

  • Subsequent citation:

Ibid., page number.

  • Subsequent citation with a different page:

Ibid., different page number.

  • If citing another source in between:

Book: Author's Last Name, Shortened Title, page number.

Ibid., page number.

By following these examples, your citations will be clear, concise, and consistent, allowing readers to easily trace your references.



Mastering the usage of "ibid." is essential for academic writers seeking to maintain clarity and efficiency in their citations. This concise abbreviation simplifies the process of referencing multiple sources from the same work consecutively, thereby enhancing the flow of your writing. By adhering to the rules outlined in this blog post and employing the provided examples, you can confidently use "ibid." in your essays, research papers, and other scholarly works. Remember, accurate citation not only showcases your attention to detail but also acknowledges the intellectual contributions of others.


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