Make Your Editor Cry: (LATIN) cf.

Make Your Editor Cry:  (LATIN) cf.

The abbreviation “cf.” stands for the Latin word “confer” which means “compare.” Not to be confused with English meanings of confer in a sense of to bestow or to give, but with the primary intransitive verb meaning: to compare views.

The abbreviation “cf.” is primarily used in endnotes or footnotes to point readers to works that the author recommends referencing in comparison with the work at hand. Therefore, it might be more useful to read “cf.” as “but compare this to.”

It is generally preceded by citations of works that are sources for the author’s argument and then followed by one or two examples of works that somehow differ from or depart from the argument. Although it is not strictly necessary to explain how these works are different, you might find it useful to include a short phrase for the benefit of your reader.

Example:

3. Dewey 2002 AD, Cheatum 2003 AD; cf. on methodology Howe 2012 AD.

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