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How to Cite a Speech by a Government Official in MLA Format


The The President of the United States is just one government official whose speeches you could cite using MLA style.

MLA style is most often used in the humanities fields and is typically utilized by those writing about language and literature. Among other rules, MLA provides guidelines for citing the content of a speech. Depending on what sort of paper you're writing, the speeches of government officials could serve as possible sources for you.

Identify the Basics

First, identify the basic facts surrounding the speech in question. According to the third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing and the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, you must be prepared to identify the speaker's name and the title of the speech. Additionally, you will need to know the time and place the speech was delivered, as well as the name of the meeting or event and the name of the host organization.

Works Cited Entry

To begin a citation for your Works Cited page, list the name of the government official (last name first, then a comma and the first name). Next, place the title of the speech in quotation marks and then write the name of the meeting or gathering where the speech took place, as well as the host organization. Include the location of that event and the date. If you don't know the date, write "n.d." (without the quotation marks). Finally, end your citation with the word "Speech." Follow each piece of information in the citation with a period.

An example citation for a speech would read:

Kennedy, John F. "The Moon Speech." Rice University. Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas. 12 Sept. 1962. Speech.

In-Text Citation

Parenthetical citations are short, in-text references that refer a reader to your full and detailed entry on the Works Cited page. When you mention a government official's speech in the body of your text, complete the sentence in question by placing the speaker's last name in parentheses. The period for the sentence should fall after the citation. That cue will allow your reader to find the full citation on the Works Cited page.

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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