How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA

how to cite youtube video in mla
  • Published Date: January 29, 2018

The Internet has certainly changed the way students do research. So much information can be retrieved from websites. Knowing how to properly cite them can definitely help when it comes time to construct a great essay. One popular site that offers a ton of good material for research is YouTube. There are literally millions of educational and informational videos on this video streaming website. So let’s take a look at how to cite a YouTube video MLA style.

Where to Look

Let’s take a look at the screen cap below. Here we have a video entitled: “Frank Abagnale: ‘Catch Me If You Can’, Talks at Google.” The uploader is: Talks at Google, and info just below tells us the video was uploaded on 27 November 2017. The URL you’ll be able to snag from your browser at the top of your screen. For now, let’s just look at a few ways you could cite this video.


In-Text Citation

If your essay is about Frank Abagnale (the subject of the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio), you might like to actually reference a few of the man’s own words: you could turn to a book—or, since this is the age of social media and video file sharing, you might like to turn to YouTube.

And you’d be in luck, because here is a great talk from Abagnale himself. Your paper might look something like this:


While some might be forgiven for assuming that it was simply easier for Frank Abagnale to do what he did because of the lack of technological security features in place forty years ago, the fact is that today it is thousands of times easier to commit fraud: “Technology breeds crime. It always has and it always will” (Abagnale). Yet what advice does Abagnale give to young consumers today? Don’t use a debit card; use your credit card: you as the consumer have zero liability if your CC info gets stolen and used. If your debit card gets swiped, it’s your money that will be lost.

In this paragraph, we see that Abagnale is referenced as a direct source. His name is not used in the sentence, so it is placed in parentheses at the end of the direct quote. Where does the quote come from? It comes from the YouTube video screen-capped at the top of this page. Now that you know that, let’s take a look at how you’d cite that video at the end of your paper on your Works Cited page.

Works Cited Page

When you reference a YouTube video in your paper, you’ll want to make sure to cite it correctly on your Works Cited page. There are a couple ways you could do this.

When referencing a YouTube upload, you can structure the reference like this:


“Title of the video.” YouTube, uploaded by [username here], Day Month Year, URL.

For example, your reference can look like this:

“Why Big Oil Conquered the World.” YouTube, uploaded by corbettreport, 6 Oct.


If the author of the video is different from the uploader, the author’s name can be placed before the title. For example:

Sanders, Sarah Huckabee. “WATCH: Sarah Huckabee Sanders White House Press

Briefing 1/4/2018.” YouTube, uploaded by Right Side Broadcasting Network, 4 Jan. 2018.

Sometimes in your research you may find that you want to reference a comment made on a YouTube video. You can do this. Your in-text citation will include the name of the commenter, and your reference on your Works Cited page will look like this:


Craig MK. Comment on “Frank Abagnale: ‘Catch Me If You Can’, Talks at Google.”

YouTube, 28 Dec. 2017,

If you quoted Craig MK in your essay, your parenthetical citation would look like this:

Or the other option is to “put yourself in a position of authority if you want to fool people” (Craig MK).

What we did above in our paragraph example of a paper on Abagnale was to reference the speaker directly. So our reference for this video would look like this:

Abagnale, Frank. “Frank Abagnale: ‘Catch Me If You Can’, Talks at Google.”

YouTube, uploaded by Talks at Google, 28 Dec. 2017,

The speaker in the video is Abagnale himself, so it is appropriate to use his name when referencing the video. However, it is also important to know where the video comes from—i.e., who is responsible for publishing it. The platform of course is YouTube, and that is noted in the reference. The publisher is also listed: Talks at Google.

Tips to Remember

An important thing to consider when citing a video on YouTube is to get all the pertinent information and save it for later. One of the biggest mistakes novice writers can make is this: they get pumped about finding a great source, plug a quote into their paper, but fail to write down where the source comes from. Since the quote comes from a video, it’s hard to go back and scan Google for the exact lines that were lifted. You have a quote—but no way to find out where it came from because you closed out of the page days ago and you have your history set to automatically erase at the end of every browsing session.

That’s why you must be very careful to be sure to take down the source information whenever you get material from a source.

Like what you see in a YouTube video? Want to use it in your paper? Immediately go down to your Works Cited page and take down the necessaries: Title of Video, uploader—and, most importantly, the link to the video. Simply getting down the URL for a video source can save you a ton of time and trouble later on if you realize that you’ve forgotten to include the publication date or want to go back and examine some of the comments to the video.

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Say you just bought a new car but can’t get the hood to unlatch. What do you do? Hop online and watch a video of a mechanic showing you how to remove the grill, pull on the hood latch and free that baby up.

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How to cite a YouTube video MLA style is pretty easy—you just have to know where to look and what to look for when you find the right video for your research paper. Things to remember that will make your life easier when it’s time to create your Works Cited page:

  • The title of the video
  • The name of the uploader of the video
  • The date it was uploaded
  • The URL to the video
  • The author of the video (if separate from the uploader and relevant to the source material)

You’ll use this information to cite the YouTube video in your paper, so be sure to jot it down when you come across it. Sometimes closing out of a tab on your computer screen without getting the necessaries can be the difference between a happy end to your research writing and hours of agonizing over how to find where such-and-such quote came from.

YouTube is a great repository of information in this day and age. There are so many great talks, lectures, speeches, informative videos, documentaries, films and short films available on the video streaming platform that to ignore it is to isolate yourself from what essentially amounts to one of the greatest libraries of all time on the face of this planet. YouTube could easily be used as a reference in virtually every paper. So learn how to cite a YouTube source in your paper today—and if you need additional help, we’re always just a few mouse clicks away.

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Latest APA Format (6th edition)

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How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA. (2018, January 29). Retrieved from

Latest MLA Format (8th edition)

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"How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA." Student Network Resources Inc, 29 January. 2018. Web. 24 May 2022.

Latest Chicago Format (16th edition)

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Student Network Resources Inc. "How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA." (accessed May 24, 2022).