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How to Cite a TED Talk in MLA Style

TED Talks are popular sources for academic and research purposes. Citing TED Talks in MLA style requires specific elements: speaker’s name, talk title, “TED” as the container, date, and URL. These details are necessary for both in-text citations and Works Cited entries. Proper citation ensures credit to speakers and maintains academic integrity in your work.

Essential Elements of a TED Talk Citation

Speaker’s Name

The speaker’s name is the primary focus of the citation, reflecting the individual who delivered the content. In MLA style, you must present the speaker’s last name first, followed by their first name.

Title of the TED Talk

The title of the TED Talk should be enclosed in quotation marks and capitalized according to standard rules. This helps differentiate the specific talk from other types of content.

Platform and Publisher

For TED Talks, the platform and publisher are typically listed as TED Conferences, LLC. This recognizes the organization that produces and distributes the talks.

Date of Publication

The date of publication should be in day-month-year format. This detail helps pinpoint exactly when the talk was published online.

URL and Access Date

Including the URL is essential for digital sources. It directs readers to the exact location of the TED Talk. An access date may also be necessary to indicate when you retrieved the information.

Formatting the Citation: Step-by-Step Guide

Speaker’s Name: Last Name, First Name

Start with the speaker’s last name, followed by their first name. For instance,

“Gaiman, Neil.”

Title of the TED Talk: Quotation Marks and Capitalization

Place the title in quotation marks and use title case. For example,

“The Power of Storytelling.”

Platform and Publisher: TED Conferences, LLC

After the title, include “TED Conferences, LLC,” as the publisher.

Date of Publication: Day Month Year Format

List the publication date in day-month-year format. For instance,

“12 Mar. 2020.”

URL and Access Date: Formatting Tips

Include the URL at the end of the citation, preceded by a period. If required, add the access date in the format “Accessed 5 June 2024.”

Examples of Correctly Cited TED Talks

Example of a Single Speaker TED Talk

Gaiman, Neil. “The Power of Storytelling.” TED Conferences, LLC, 12 Mar. 2020, Accessed 5 June 2024.

Example of a TED Talk with Multiple Speakers

Smith, Jane, and John Doe. “Innovative Approaches to Education.” TED Conferences, LLC, 20 Feb. 2021, Accessed 5 June 2024.

In-Text Citation Examples

For in-text citations, use the speaker’s last name and a timestamp if necessary. For example:

(Gaiman 00:05:34).

Tips for Using Citation Tools

For accurate citations, you can get help from WriterBuddy’s MLA TED Talk Citation tool. This tool simplifies the citation process and ensures that all necessary elements are included.


How do I cite a TED Talk with multiple speakers in MLA style?

When citing a TED Talk with multiple speakers, list each speaker’s name in the order they appear, separated by commas. For example: “Smith, Jane, and John Doe.”

What if the publication date of the TED Talk is not available?

If the publication date is unavailable, you can include the date you accessed the TED Talk in your citation to ensure readers know when you retrieved the information.

Can I use citation generators for MLA TED Talk citations?

Yes, citation generators can be helpful, but always verify the accuracy of the generated citations against MLA guidelines to ensure correctness.

Why is it important to include the URL in a TED Talk citation?

Including the URL in a TED Talk citation directs readers to the exact source, allowing them to access the original material for further reference or verification.


Following these guidelines helps properly attribute ideas to speakers and provides readers with necessary source information. Consistent application of MLA rules for TED Talk citations demonstrates scholarly rigor and respects intellectual property.

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