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TED Talk Citation: How to Cite TED Talks in APA and MLA

TED Talk Citation: How to Cite TED Talks in APA and MLA

Citing TED talks in college papers is tricky.

You know that a TED talks platform shares professional insights worth referencing. A tiny problem: It’s videos. How to format them to ensure you credit a speaker? How to address expert talks in essays, articles, and other written content?

Here’s your ultimate guide on how to cite a TED talk in texts and reference lists. Ready to check all the formatting rules and examples?

How to Cite a TED Talk in APA Format

APA is a documentation citation style used by the American Psychological Association. This format is for sciences like Sociology, Psychology, and Nursing. If you write on Education and Anthropology, it’s your style, too.

Most scholarly articles and books in those fields use APA to cite their sources. APA 7th edition is available (1), with all the guidelines on referring to others’ works. 

Here’s how to cite a TED talk APA 7:

Citing TED talks in APA style

In-Text Citation for a TED Talk APA

When citing a TEDtalk in text, use a speaker’s last name and the year listed on the website.

For example:

  • (Johnson, 2016) or Johnson (2016)
  • (Cuddy, 2023) or Cuddy (2023)

When addressing a quote, not the whole TED talk, mention timestamps in parenthesis. Use the time of a quote starting. Like this:

  • (Johnson, 5:43) or (Johnson, 2016, 5.43)
  • (Cuddy, 17:39) or (Cuddy, 2023, 17:39)

Citing a TED Talk from YouTube

If you watched a TED talk on YouTube or any other video platform, the APA format is as follows:

Channel name. (Year, Month, Day). Talk title [Video]. YouTube. URL

Mention the uploader, the date of uploading, and the video title. Remember to mention [Video] in square brackets. Specify YouTube (or another platform) as a publisher and add the URL.

Please note that talk titles are italicized in APA.

For example:

TED. (2015, November 23). How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed | Daniel Levitin [Video]. YouTube.

Citing a TED Talk Video Comment

Let’s say you want to cite someone’s comment left under a video. In that case, a TED talk APA citation is as follows:

The commentator’s last name, first initial (or username). (Year, Month, Day of the comment’s placement). The first 20 words of the comment. [Comment on the video “Title of the video”]. Website name. URL

For example:

Smith J. (2021, May 10) It’s kind of comforting to know that even a neuroscience brain expert can get stressed. [Comment on the video “How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed | Daniel Levitin”]. YouTube.

TED Talk Citation in MLA style

MLA is a documentation citation style by The Modern Language Association of America.

This format is for papers on language learning and literature. Use MLA when investigating English or Foreign Languages, Literary Criticism, and Cultural Studies.

As well as APA, MLA style has the 7th edition (2) with detailed guidelines on how to cite papers accordingly. It establishes standards for:

  • page layout
  • citing sources
  • stylistic technicalities (quotations, abbreviations, etc.)
  • formatting a document for publication

How to cite a TED talk MLA if you need to add it to your reference list:

Format: Example:
Speaker’s Last name, First name. “TED Talk Title.” TED, Month Year, URL.Shankar, M. “Why change is so scary – and how to unlock its potential.” TED, Apr. 2023.

Below is the table representing all variants of TED talks’ MLA formatting:

Citing TED talks in MLA style

Cite a TED Talk MLA in Text

If you need to cite a TED talk in-text, use a speaker’s name and a quote timestamp in parenthesis.

  • (Hyeonmi 7:11)
  • (King 29:51)

Please note that, unlike in APA, there’s no comma after a speaker’s name).

When citing a TED talk comment in-text, write a commentator’s username in parentheses. No need to add timestamps here. Like this:

  • (Rita_Fantastica)

How to Cite a TED Talk Video from YouTube

For citing a TED talk from YouTube or other video platform, mention the following:

  1. Speaker’s last and first name
  2. Video title
  3. The platform of its publishing
  4. Channel (or a user) who uploaded it
  5. Date of publishing
  6. Video’s URL

Here’s how to format it according to the MLA style guide:

Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Ted Talk Title.” YouTube, uploaded by TED or TEDx Talks, Day Month Year, URL.


Blom, Katarina. “You Don’t Find Happiness, You Create It | Katarina Blom | TEDxGöteborg.” YouTube, uploaded by TEDx Talks, 7 May 2018,

Unlike in APA, video titles are not italicized here. What you need to italicize is a channel’s name. In our example, it’s YouTube.

Citing a TED Talk Comment

If there’s a user comment under a TED talk video and you want to cite it in a paper, consider the following format:

Commentator’s Surname, First Name. Comment on “Talk Title.” TED, Month Year, URL.

Like this:

Rita_Fantastica. Comment on “Why I built my own time machine.” TED, Apr. 2023,

As seen, you shouldn’t write the comment text itself, as we did in the APA style. Title a video, and the commentator’s name will serve as a credit to avoid plagiarism.

How Do I Cite a TED Talk in a Paper?

It’s the most popular question in FAQs about TED talks citing (3). Now you know the answer.

How to cite a TED talk:

  1. Mention all the core information. (The speaker’s name, the talk’s title, the platform where a video lives, and the publishing date.)
  2. Consider the format you need to follow: APA or MLA style.
  3. Pay attention to punctuation, italicization, word order, and other tiny details.


Wondering how to cite TED talks in Chicago? (It’s a style format for History, Humanities, and Social Sciences. It’s also popular among journalists, bloggers, and book publishers.)

Speaker’s Last name, First name. “Talk title.” TED Talks. Month Day, Year. Video, video length. URL.Smith, Andrew. “Why do we eat popcorn at the movies?” TED Talks. April 10, 2023. Video, 5:20.



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