Fun Citation Trivia!


Citations isn’t a word that screams fun. You wouldn’t choose to do citations over watching a video or texting a friend. And yet, citations at their core are anything but boring! They are so much more than just their style rules, and are an incredibly effective tool in most academic disciplines.  

Have you ever wanted to know why there are so many citation styles or how citations came to be in the first place? Keep reading to discover the answers and other interesting facts about citations!

1. Citations have been around for a long time

Making citations for sources is anything but new. In the 1600s, the act of making citations became defined as the “act of quoting a passage from a book, etc.” The word “citations” can trace its roots to the Latin word “citare,” which means “to summon, urge, call; put in sudden motion, call forward; rouse, excite.” It is interesting to think about how authors have been making citations for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years! 

2. There are thousands of citation style options

You likely find yourself needing to cite in one or two of the same citation styles, such as APA or MLA format. But did you know that there are over 7,000 citation styles to choose from? And the list grows regularly. With so many options, it can be difficult to decide which to use. If you’re unsure which one to select for your next paper, it is always a good idea to consult with your professor.

3. Some citation styles are very unique

Citation styles can be very uniquely named, or apply to a very specific publication or industry. For example, the style “Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society” is a style that is only used by that particular organization. There are also citation styles that have unusual names, such as “Blood.” This citation style is used by a journal for the study of hematology.

4. There are citation styles named for people

Most citation styles are named for organizations that publish them. For example, APA is named for the American Psychological Association.  Did you know, however, that some citation styles are named for individual people? The best example of this is Turabian style, which was named for its author Kate L. Turabian, who modeled the style after Chicago Manual of Style rules.

5. Citation styles can change over time

While citations are always an important piece of the writing process, the specific citation style rules can change over time. For example, just this year, nearly 50 new citation styles were added, and there were over 100 edits to existing citation styles. This is another reason why it is super important to confirm your needed citation style with your professor before handing in your paper.

6. Millions of citations are created on BibMe each year

This past fall semester alone, there were approximately 11.8 million citations made on BibMe. That’s over 8 times more citations than there are people living in the state of Hawaii. That’s a lot of citations!

Finished with your citations and paper? Check out the handy BibMe Plus grammar checker and plagiarism tool! It can help you find mistakes and improve your paper. Haven’t started writing yet? Read our grammar guides to learn what is a verb, an adjective definition, gender pronouns, and other grammar-related topics.

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