Ever wondered how to properly cite a speech in your essay or research paper using MLA format? MLA, or Modern Language Association style, is commonly used in humanities studies because it supports the clear presentation of ideas and respects the uniqueness of cultural expressions. When you write about literature, arts, or any humanistic discourse, citing sources correctly is important to provide your readers with enough information to find those sources themselves. This is particularly true for speeches, that are significant in terms of humanities topics. This guide will walk you through the simple steps to cite speeches in MLA format, so that your academic work is both thorough and respectful to original sources.

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Types of Speeches You Can Cite

When you’re writing something that needs sources, citing speeches can really beef up your paper. But it’s important to pick the right ones. You’ll want to go for speeches that have some weight like official talks given at conferences, public addresses by leaders, or expert lectures. These are usually recorded or written down somewhere, so they’re easy to check and cite.

However, not every speech makes the cut. You should steer clear of citing stuff like offhand comments or anything said in a super casual setting. Also, if you can’t find any record of the speech or if it’s from a private event, it’s probably best to leave it out. Citing reliable and accessible speeches strengthens your arguments and keeps your work credible. So, when you’re choosing speeches to cite, think about whether they’re the kind that will help build a strong case for your paper. Here’s a little TLDR to refer to:

Appropriate for CitationNot Appropriate for Citation
Keynote addresses at conferencesOff-the-cuff remarks at informal gatherings
Public speeches by government officialsCasual comments made in social settings
Presentations at academic symposiaPrivate speeches not intended for public release
Lectures by subject matter expertsUndocumented personal communications
Panel discussions at professional meetingsAny speech without a verifiable source or transcript

Citing a Speech in the Works Cited Page MLA

Including a speech in your works cited page might seem tricky, but it’s pretty straightforward once you know what details to note. Whether you heard the speech in person, listened to it via a recording, or read its transcript, each scenario has its own citation format. Here’s how to handle each one:

Citing a Speech Heard Firsthand

How to Cite a Speech in MLA

Citing a Speech Accessed Through a Recording

How to Cite a Speech in MLA

Citing a Speech Read in a Transcript

How to Cite a Speech in MLA

Each format helps you provide enough information about where and how the speech was delivered, making your work credible and well-documented. Stick to these guidelines, and you’ll have no trouble citing speeches in your works cited page!

Need a hand? Try our Free Citation Generator

In-text Citations for a Speech in MLA

Citing a speech within the text of your paper can really back up your points, especially when using MLA format. Whether you’re quoting directly or paraphrasing, the way you cite should clearly point your readers to the specific speech you’re referring to. Here’s how to do it:

For direct quotes, include the speaker’s last name and the specific part or point in the speech you’re quoting, if available. If not, just use the last name. For example, if you’re quoting Alice Johnson’s speech directly, you would write it like this in the text:

Alice Johnson asserts, “Renewable energy is the undeniable future of our planet” (Johnson).

For paraphrasing, you’ll also need the speaker’s last name, and it’s good practice to mention part of the speech’s context to help locate it. Here’s how you might paraphrase content from the same speech by Alice Johnson without directly quoting:

Alice Johnson discussed the critical importance and inevitability of renewable energy in her recent speech at the Green Tech Conference (Johnson).

In both cases, the idea is to make it easy for anyone reading your paper to understand who said what, even if they don’t have direct access to the speech itself. And that’s pretty much it!


How do you quote a speech from a book in MLA?

To quote a speech from a book in MLA format, include the speaker’s name, followed by the description or their role in parentheses, the book title in italics, the publisher, the year, and the page number. For example: King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Civil Rights Leader). I Have a Dream. Penguin, 1963, p. 87.

How to MLA cite a lecture?

To cite a lecture in MLA format, list the lecturer’s name, the title of the lecture in quotation marks, the course name or event, the institution or venue, the city, the date of the lecture, and the descriptor “Lecture.” Example: Doe, John. “The History of Ancient Rome.” World History 101, University of History, Rome, 12 Sept. 2023, Lecture.

How do you cite a verbal conversation in MLA?

To cite a verbal conversation in MLA format, include the name of the person you spoke with, the phrase “personal interview,” followed by the date of the conversation. Example: Smith, Jane. Personal interview. 25 Oct. 2023.

How do you cite a lecture speech?

Citing a lecture speech in MLA is similar to citing any lecture. List the speaker’s name, the title of the lecture (if applicable), followed by the name of the event and location, the date, and conclude with the descriptor “Lecture.” Example: Jones, Emily. “Modern Art Trends.” Art and History Symposium, New York Museum, New York City, 5 June 2023, Lecture.

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