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MLA Style Guide: Generative AI

This guide covers how in-text citations and references should be formatted in the MLA Style, 9th Edition.


This citation and referencing advice should be used only when your module coordinator or School allows the use of AI tools in the creation of academic assignments. If you have used an AI tool in the creation of an assignment, you must acknowledge this use and cite and reference the tool appropriately to ensure you are adhering to UCD's student plagiarism policy.
Please also be aware that Generative AI is a tool and not an academic or original source.

This advice was created for text-based generative AI systems and does not include other AI-generated content. Advice about citing and referencing AI tools is constantly evolving, and this guide created on October 10th 2023, will be updated as soon as further information becomes available.

For the purposes of this guidance, generative AI is defined as a tool that “can analyze or summarize content from a huge set of information, including web pages, books and other writing available on the internet, and use that data to create original new content” (Weed).

Generative AI often provides citations and sources that do not exist, or are inaccurate. All such references must be checked by the user to ensure the legitimacy of the references/citations provided by AI tools.


According to the MLA Style Center, the use of AI to find sources does not need to be cited. Instead, cite the resource being quoted. Since AI was the tool used to get to the destination, it does not need to be included.

You will need to cite AI if you paraphrase or quote ideas/sentences formulated with generative AI. 

The MLA style guide does not recommend citing the AI tool as an author, instead use the prompt as the primary element of your reference (a generalisation of the prompt where the conversation is lengthy can be used where numerous prompts may have been given).  In text citations can use a shortened version of the prompt given and do not include the date consulted.

Examples for Citing Generative AI with MLA Style


“Prompt given” prompt. Program Used, Day and Month of updated version*. version #, company (ex OpenAI), date accessed.
*You can find the updated version of ChatGPT below the textbox


“Describe the importance and the symbolism of the rose in the play Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare” prompt. 12 May. version 3.5, OpenAI, 18 May 2023, 


  • ("prompt”). 
  • Symbols are often used in writing to describe exactly what the author intends without using overused metaphors. In Romeo and Juliet, the rose is used as a method of expression to show the fragility, love, and beauty of human emotions (“Describe the importance”). 

Works Cited

"How do I cite generative AI in MLA style?" MLA Style Center.

Weed, Julie. "Can ChaptGPT Plan Your Vacation?" The New York Times, 16 Mar. 2023, https://www.nytimes.ocm/2023/03/16/travel/chaptgpt-artifical-intelligence-travel-vacation.html