what is verbal citation

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COMM 131/132: Public Speaking

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Cite your sources in APA Style

  • APA Style (7th Edition) Cook Library's guide to APA Style has examples for many APA citation formats including book, journal article, website and audiovisual works.

Why cite in your speech?

Verbally citing source in your speech will:

  • Add credibility to your statements
  • Show the audience you know your stuff
  • Give credit to others for their work and ideas

Creating a Verbal Citation

Your verbal citation should be brief but highlight the most important information: who, what and when.

  • Author Credentials
  • Title of work (article, report, etc.)
  • Date of work (if relevant)

Use an introductory phrase:

"According to Professor Dumbledore at Hogwarts University..."

"Rita Sketter, a journalist with the Daily Prophet, wrote in her 2014 article..."

Verbally cite your sources

what is verbal citation

Chart revised from Janene Davison

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Speech - General Resources

  • Verbal Citations

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Intro to Verbal Citations

When preparing your presentation, remember that all sources used must be cited in both the Works Cited page and in-text.  For a speech you will need to verbally give credit to your sources. Verbally citing a source can be as simple as stating, "Dr. Bob, a Professor at Clemson University, stated in a 2019 Forbes article, ..."   Other examples could be, "The World Health Organization published the following Zika virus statistics on April 12, 2016...," or "According to Neal's book we learned..."

By verbally citing your sources you are lending credibility to your topic and making  your position stronger. Be sure to vary the language in which you verbally cite sources to keep your presentation more interesting (don't say "According to..." every time). 

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Citations & Avoiding Plagiarism

  • IEEE This link opens in a new window
  • AI/ChatGPT and Citations
  • Verbal Citations in Speeches
  • Reading Citations
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Annotated Bibliographies
  • In-Text Citations
  • Citation Generators: How to Use & Doublecheck Them
  • Citation Workshops

Why use Verbal Citations?

  • Adds credibility.
  • Shows your work.
  • Avoids plagiarism by giving credit to others for their work/ideas.
  • Shows timeliness of research and resources.

Creating an Verbal Citation

General guidelines.

Be brief, but p rovide enough information that your audience can track down the source.

Highlight what is most important criteria for that source.

Include who/what and when.

  • Author 
  • Author's credentials
  • Title of Work
  • Title of Publication
  • Date of work/publication/study

Use an introductory phrase for your verbal citation.

According to Professor Jane Smith at Stanford University.... (abbreviated verbal citation)

When I interviewed college instructor John Doe and observed his English 101 class...

Jason Hammersmith, a journalist with the Dallas Times, describes in his February 13, 2016 article....  (Full verbal citation)

Full vs. abbreviated verbal citations

Full verbal citations  include all the information about the source thereby allowing the source to be easily found.  ex. According to Harvard University professors, Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones research on this topic published in the Summer 2015 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine....

Abbreviated verbal citations  include less information about the source, but still includes the most important aspects of that specific source.  ex. A 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that Harvard University professors....

  • FILE: Guide to Oral Footnoting (a/k/a verbal citations) This document from Matt McGarrity, a University of Washington communication instructor, provides examples and tips on how to verbally cite information in a speech.

Speaking a Verbal Citation

Verbal citations should come at the beginning of the cited idea or quotation..

It is a easier for a listening audience to understand that what they hear next is coming from that source. 

Introduce the quote (ex "And I quote" or "As Dr. Smith stated"...) PAUSE. Start quotation. PAUSE at the end of the quotation.

Introduce the quote. Say QUOTE. Start quotation. Say END QUOTE. 

Example 1 : Listen to the first few minutes of this video to hear how the speaker incorporates a verbal citation.

2018 NSDA Informative Speech Champion Lily Indie's "Nobody puts Baby in a closet"  has examples of verbal citations. Listen to two verbal citations starting at the 5:30 mark and running until 6:50 mark in this YouTube video.

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  • Last Updated: Oct 20, 2023 12:09 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.spokanefalls.edu/cite

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Holman Library

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  • Library Instruction

Research Guide: Citations

  • APA Verbal/Speech Citations Example
  • Citing Sources
  • Quick Overview
  • Plagiarism & Academic Honesty This link opens in a new window
  • APA Citation Style Overview
  • In-Text Citations - APA
  • ARTICLES - APA Reference List
  • BOOKS - APA Reference List
  • ONLINE SOURCES - APA Reference List
  • OTHER SOURCES - APA Reference List
  • APA Formatted Paper Example
  • APA Annotated Bibliography Example
  • APA Images and Visual Presentations Citations Example
  • MLA Citation Style Overview
  • In-Text Citations - MLA
  • ARTICLES - MLA Works Cited
  • BOOKS - MLA Works Cited
  • ONLINE SOURCES - MLA Works Cited
  • OTHER SOURCES - MLA Works Cited
  • MLA Formatted Paper Example
  • MLA Annotated Bibliography Example
  • MLA Verbal/Speech Citation Example
  • MLA Images and Visual Presentations Citations Example
  • Other Citation Styles
  • Citation Generator (NoodleTools)
  • Synthesizing Sources
  • Get Help & Citation Workshops

Verbal Citations in Speeches and Presentations

What should you include in a verbal citation, when you give a speech....

(click on image to enlarge)

image of caption bubble with this info: You do not want a verbal citation to interrupt the flow of speech by giving too many details for example, it would be unnecessary to list the page number, volume and issue number of a journal article  but you need to give enough details so that your audience knows where the information came from, who the author is and what their credentials are, and often how current the information is

Why cite sources verbally?

  • to c onvince your audience  that you are a  credible  speaker.  Building on the work of others lends authority to your presentation
  • to prove that your information comes from solid,  reliable sources that your audience can trust.
  • to give credit to others for their ideas, data, images (even on PowerPoint slides), and words to  avoid plagiarism.
  • to  leave a path for your audience  so they can locate your sources.

What are tips for effective verbal citations?

When citing books:

  • Ineffective : “ Margaret Brownwell writes in her book Dieting Sensibly that fad diets telling you ‘eat all you want’ are dangerous and misguided.” (Although the speaker cites and author and book title, who is Margaret Brownwell?  No information is presented to establish her authority on the topic.)
  • Better : “Margaret Brownwell, professor of nutrition at the Univeristy of New Mexico , writes in her book, Dieting Sensibly, that …” (The author’s credentials are clearly described.)

When citing Magazine, Journal, or Newspaper articles

  • Ineffective : “An article titled ‘Biofuels Boom’ from the ProQuest database notes that midwestern energy companies are building new factories to convert corn to ethanol.” (Although ProQuest is the database tool used to retrieve the information, the name of the newspaper or journal and publication date should be cited as the source.)
  • Better : “An article titled ‘Biofuels Boom’ in a September 2010 issue of Journal of Environment and Development” notes that midwestern energy companies…” (Name and date of the source provides credibility and currency of the information as well as giving the audience better information to track down the source.)

When citing websites

  • Ineffective : “According to generationrescue.org, possible recovery from autism includes dietary interventions.” (No indication of the credibility or sponsoring organization or author of the website is given)
  • Better : “According to pediatrician Jerry Kartzinel, consultant for generationrescue.org, an organization that provides information about autism treatment options, possibly recovery from autism includes dietary interventions.” (author and purpose of the website is clearly stated.)

Note: some of the above examples are quoted from: Metcalfe, Sheldon. Building a Speech. 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2010. Google Books. Web. 17 Mar. 2012.

Video: Oral Citations

Source: "Oral Citations" by COMMpadres Media , is licensed under a Standard YouTube License.

Example of a Verbal Citation

Example of a verbal citation from a CMST 238 class at Green River College,  Auburn, WA, February 2019

What to Include in a Verbal Citation

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  • Last Updated: Oct 24, 2023 10:47 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.greenriver.edu/citations

Speech 101 Library Guide

  • Persuasive and Informative Speeches
  • How do I know which source to use? A Book? An Article?
  • How do I access the library databases from home?
  • Verbal and Written Citations
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Criteria for Evaluating Web Resources
  • Ask a Librarian
  • Things You Need to Know

Verbal Citations

Checkout out this great video about citing verbally in your speech.

It is important to let your listener know where you found your information. The best way to deliver this information during your speech is by using a verbal citation.

Verbally Citing Websites

  • Locate the website information which is often found on the About page and/or the footer of the website. According to the Modern Language Association, website citations should include the name of the author (some websites may not have an author), the website’s title, the publisher, the copyright date or the last date it was updated, and the website address/URL.
  • Where do you find the title of the website and the website’s address or URL ?

You use the website’s address/URL to locate the website on the internet. For example, you cannot find your way around a city or town without having the address of your destination, and the internet functions in the same way.

You can find the title of the website and the  website’s address/URL in your search results on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.


The title of the website and the website’s address/URL can be found on the website too. Right-click anywhere on the web page for a menu. Once the menu is open  left-click on View Page Info .


The Page Info window will open with the title of the website and the website’s address/URL .


  • Put the facts in logical order. Since the citation will be given verbally, you should present the website information in a complete sentence and in a logical order for your audience to comprehend. You may choose not to verbalize the entire citation information. Speak with your instructor to find out the amount of information you should include in the verbal citation. Colorado State University (CSU) suggests beginning the citation with the author, followed by the website title and the date.
  • Your speech should flow as you give the verbal citation. When verbally citing a website give the citation information before you present the information you found on the website. This may include a brief reference or a direct quote. This helps the audience understand the citation and helps you avoid plagiarism .

Verbal Citation Resources

Verbal Citations , Holman Library

Written Citations in MLA Style

Always give credit .

If you are writing in your own words (paraphrasing) or quoting someone make sure to give the author credit. An example of what not to do can be seen in this video of a breaking dancing duo stealing the moves of famous dancers, the Les Twins.

MLA Citation Formats

When writing your citations always make sure to double-space and indent the second line of your citation.

Book (Printed book)

(When writing your citations always make sure to double-space and indent the second line of your citation.)

Citing an Entire Website

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access.

Articles found in the Library’s Databases

Last name, First name, and First name Last name. “Title of Article.” Title of Periodical Day Month Year: page numbers. Name of Database . Web. Day Month Year database accessed.

MLA Resources

Cornell University Library, MLA Citation Style

Long Island University, MLA Citations

Purdue Owl, MLA Formatting and Style Guide

  • MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
  • Sample MLA Paper

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Referencing: Citing in Orals

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  • Citing Medicine (Vancouver)
  • Citing in text
  • Parts of a citation
  • Formatting tips
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Referencing Resources
  • Citing in Orals

Citing in Oral Presentations

Other university guides.

Citing in oral presentations is not a hard-and-fast rule. If you find a guide that you like, check with your lecturer to see if they are happy for you to follow their guidelines.

  • Oral Citation Guide CSN Libraries
  • Verbal Citations in Speeches Spokane Falls Community College

Orally citing a source in a speech

How to do oral citations in speeches

Student to Student: Verbal Citation

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Acknowledgement of Country


Citing Sources: Citing Orally in Speeches

  • Citing Sources Overview
  • Citing in the Sciences & Engineering
  • APA Citation Examples
  • Chicago Citation Examples
  • Biologists: Council of Science Editors (CSE) Examples
  • MLA Citation Examples
  • Bluebook - Legal Citation

Citing Orally in Speeches

  • Citation Managers
  • Oral Source Citations - James Madison University Communication Center
  • Using Citations and Avoiding Plagiarism in Oral Presentations - Hamilton College, Dept. of Rhetoric and Communication
  • Referencing: Citing in Orals - James Cook University

General Tips:

Tell the audience your source before you use the information (the opposite of in-text citations).

Do not say, “quote, unquote” when you offer a direct quotation. Use brief pauses instead.

Provide enough information about each source so that your audience could, with a little effort, find them. This should include the author(s) name, a brief explanation of their credentials, the title of the work, and publication date.

 “In the 1979 edition of The Elements of Style, renowned grammarians and composition stylists Strunk and White encourage writers to ‘make every word tell.’”

If your source is unknown to your audience, provide enough information about your source for the audience to perceive them as credible. Typically we provide this credentialing of the source by stating the source’s qualifications to discuss the topic.

“Dr. Derek Bok, the President Emeritus of Harvard University and the author of The Politics of Happiness argues that the American government should design policies to enhance the happiness of its citizens.”

Provide a caption citation for all direct quotations and /or relevant images on your PowerPoint slides.

Direct Quotations:

These should be acknowledged in your speech or presentation either as “And I quote…” or “As [the source] put it…”

Include title and author: “According to April Jones, author of Readings on Gender…”


Include title and date: “Time, March 28, 2005, explains…” or “The New York Times, June 5, 2006, explained it this way…”

Include journal title, date, and author: “Morgan Smith writes in the Fall 2005 issue of Science…”

For organizational or long-standing website, include title: “The center for Disease Control web site includes information…” For news or magazine websites, include title and date: “CNN.com, on March 28, 2005, states…” (Note: CNN is an exception to the “don’t use the address” rule because the site is known by that name.)

Interviews, lecture notes, or personal communication:

Include name and credentials of source: “Alice Smith, professor of Economics at USM, had this to say about the growth plan…” or “According to junior Speech Communication major, Susan Wallace…”

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