Cover Image for How to Cite Email in MLA Style

How to Cite Email in MLA Style

Emails are increasingly important sources of information in academic and professional contexts. Citing emails in MLA style requires specific elements: sender’s name, subject line, recipient’s name, and date. These details are necessary for both in-text citations and Works Cited entries. Proper citation of emails ensures credit to correspondents and maintains academic integrity when using personal communications in research.

When to Cite an Email

Identifying Situations that Require Email Citation

Emails should be cited when they provide unique information that supports your argument or when they are referenced directly in your work. For example, if you quote or paraphrase an email in your paper, you must provide a proper citation.

Academic vs. Professional Contexts

In academic contexts, emails from professors, researchers, or experts may be cited to support your thesis or research. In professional contexts, emails from colleagues, supervisors, or clients can be cited to provide evidence or clarify points in reports or presentations.

Components of an Email Citation in MLA Style

Sender’s Name

The sender’s name is the first component of an email citation. Use the sender’s full name as it appears in the email. For example:

Smith, John.

Subject Line

Include the subject line of the email in quotation marks. This helps the reader identify the specific email being cited. For example:

“Project Update.”

Email Recipient

Indicate the recipient of the email by writing “Received by” followed by the recipient’s name. This provides context for the email’s content. For example:

Received by Jane Doe,

Date of the Email

The date the email was sent is crucial for accurate citation. Format the date in day-month-year order. For example:

25 June 2024.

Formatting the Email Citation

General Formatting Rules

When citing an email in MLA style, use the following format:

Smith, John. “Project Update.” Received by Jane Doe, 25 June 2024.

Examples of Properly Formatted Citations

Here are a few examples of properly formatted email citations:

Doe, Jane. “Re: Meeting Agenda.” Received by John Smith, 15 May 2023.

Brown, Michael. “Budget Proposal.” Received by Emily White, 10 April 2022.

Special Cases in Email Citation

Citing Emails from Groups or Organizations

When citing an email sent by a group or organization, use the group’s name as the author. For example:

Marketing Team. “Campaign Results.” Received by Sales Department, 30 March 2023.

Handling Confidential or Private Emails

For confidential or private emails, consider obtaining permission from the sender before citing. If permission is granted, cite the email normally but be mindful of sensitive information.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Misidentifying the Sender

Ensure the correct sender’s name is used. Double-check the email header to avoid mistakes.

Incorrect Formatting

Follow MLA guidelines strictly to avoid formatting errors. Refer to MLA resources or tools for accurate formatting.

Omitting Necessary Details

Include all required components: sender’s name, subject line, recipient, and date. Missing any detail can make your citation incomplete.

Practical Examples and Templates

Sample Citations for Different Scenarios

Smith, John. “Re: Budget Report.” Received by Emily Brown, 12 February 2024.

Davis, Anna. “Meeting Minutes.” Received by Board Members, 20 January 2023.

Templates for Easy Citation

To simplify the process, use this template:

[Sender’s Name]. “[Subject Line].” Received by [Recipient’s Name], [Date].

For example:

Lee, Sarah. “Team Updates.” Received by Marketing Department, 5 March 2024.

Useful Tools and Resources for Accurate Citations

Accurate citations can be challenging, but WriterBuddy can help. It provides comprehensive assistance for MLA Email Citation and other citation styles. Using WriterBuddy ensures your citations are precise and formatted correctly, saving you time and effort.


Why is it important to cite emails in MLA style?

Citing emails in MLA style ensures you give proper credit to the original author, maintain the credibility of your work, and help readers locate the source if needed.

What details are required to cite an email in MLA style?

To cite an email in MLA style, you need the sender’s name, the subject line in quotation marks, the recipient’s name, and the date the email was sent.

How do you format an email citation from an organization or group?

When citing an email from an organization or group, use the group’s name as the author and follow the same format as you would for an individual sender.


The MLA Email Citation process involves including sender and recipient information, subject line, and date. Following these guidelines helps properly attribute information from personal communications and provides readers with necessary context. Remember that emails are typically cited as personal communications and are not included in the Works Cited list unless publically accessible.

Stop Stressing, Start Writing

Join over 540,000+ happy users writing smarter with WriterBuddy. Try WriterBuddy for Free!

Copyright © 2024 WriterBuddy. All rights reserved.