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How to Cite People in MLA Format


MLA style represents an in-depth style guide used -- as of 2013 -- in more than 1,100 publications worldwide. The style typically is used by those in the humanities fields and is detailed in a pair of guides published by the Modern Language Association of America. While most of the style's citation guidelines involve written sources, it is also possible to cite a person's spoken words.

Find the Facts

Prior to crafting a citation for spoken words, you must first know a few key facts. According to the criteria laid out in the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook and third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, you must know the date the speech or interview took place, as well as the location. Additionally, you will need to identify the name of the speaker, the title of the speech and the name of the event where the speech took place (if applicable) and the host organization. You will also need to determine how best to summarize the tone of the spoken words. For example, identify whether it was a lecture, a reading, an interview or a conference presentation.

Write the Citation

Once you have the specific details, writing the citation is simple. First, list the name of the speaker, last name first. Next, give the title of the speech (if any) in quotation marks. Next, list the name of the meeting and organization, followed by the location of the speech and the date. Finally, list the descriptor for the type of speech. If the date is not known, simply write "n.d." If any piece of information fails to apply for your citation -- if, for instance, the event wasn't hosted by an organization -- simply leave it out. In the citation, each separate piece of information should be followed by a period.

About the Author

First published in 2005, Kyle Whitney has covered news and sports in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Michigan and China. Whitney is currently a local government reporter at a daily paper.

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