How to Cite a TED Talk in MLA Format with Examples

21.06.23 MLA examples Time to read: 3min

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MLA citation style is a popular format used in academia and professional settings, especially in the humanities. It entails following specific guidelines and formats for various sources, including digital resources such as TED Talks. This article aims to offer a comprehensive guide on the different ways to cite a TED Talk using the MLA format. We will break down the necessary elements and the subtle variations in format depending on the medium through which the TED Talk was accessed.

In a nutshell: How to cite a TED Talk in MLA format

  • When citing a TED Talk in MLA format, there are two methods: citing directly from the TED website or through a YouTube video of the talk.
  • To properly reference a TED talk, it is important to include the speaker’s name, the title of the talk, the website (TED), and the date it was posted.
  • When citing a source from YouTube, it’s essential to include the name of the channel and its corresponding URL.
  • When citing sources within the text, use the format of (Speaker’s Last Name). The format for the works cited entry will vary based on the platform where the TED Talk was viewed.

Definition: How to cite a TED Talk in MLA format

TED Talks have become an increasingly valuable resource for researchers and students across various disciplines: They are lectures delivered by renowned speakers on topics ranging from education and business to science, technology, and creativity. Given the educational and scholarly relevance of these presentations, it’s crucial to understand how to properly cite them to maintain academic integrity and provide readers with sufficient information to find the original source.

In MLA format, citing a TED Talk involves several key components, such as the speaker’s name, the title of the talk, the title of the website (TED), the date it was posted, and the URL. The exact arrangement and punctuation of these elements depend on whether you accessed the TED Talk online or watched it live, as the citation format varies slightly for each case.

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How to cite a TED Talk: General format

Works Cited entry Speaker's Last Name, First Name. "Title of the Talk." TED, Month Year, URL.
In-text citation (Speaker's Last Name)

If you’re citing Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk “The Price of Shame” directly from the TED website, it would look like this.


Works Cited entry:

  • Lewinsky, Monica. “The Price of Shame.” TED, March 2015,

In-text citation:

  • (Lewinsky)

The format is the following:

  • Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Talk.” YouTube, uploaded by TED, Day Month Year, URL.

Let’s assume we’re citing a TED talk by Tim Urban, “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator,” from YouTube.


Works Cited entry:

  • Urban, Tim. “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator.” YouTube, uploaded by TED, 15 Mar 2016,

In-text citation:

  • (Urban)

The format is the following:

  • Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Talk.” TED, Month Year, URL of the transcript.

If you’re citing the transcript of Bill Gates’ TED Talk “How we’ll invent the future,” it would be as follows.


Works Cited Entry:

  • Gates, Bill. “How we’ll invent the future.” TED, Feb 2019,

In-text citation:

  • (Gates)


Yes, as long as the website is reputable. However, ensure you cite the site properly in your Works Cited entry.

If a specific date is not available, use the year of publication.

If the speaker’s name is not available, start the citation with the title of the talk.