The acronym ‘‘et al.’’ is an abbreviation for the Latin term ‘et alia,’’ meaning ‘‘and others’’ and used in academic in-text citations when referring to a source with multiple authors. Depending on the number of authors a reference has, an APA in-text citation is abbreviated by using ‘et al.’ after the first author’s last name.
This blog is a discussion of using et al. in APA in-text citations. To give you an opportunity to practice your proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.
The acronym “et al.” is an abbreviation for the Latin term ‘‘et alia,’’ meaning ‘‘and others’’ and used in academic in-text citations when referring to a source with multiple authors. Depending on the number of the authors a reference has, an APA in-text citation is abbreviated by using “et al.” after the first author’s last name. Different citation styles adopt different rules for when to use “et al.” This blog discussed the rules for APA style. For a study with one or two authors, include the authors’ last name(s) in every citation.
Here is how this could look:
The research by Acemoglu and Robinson (2012) argues that…
… (Acemoglu & Robinson, 2012).
In APA style, for a source with three or more authors, list the first author’s last name and “et al.” for all citations, including the first citation. Note that this rule has changed from APA 6th Edition guidelines on using“et al.” which recommend listing all author names in the first citation up to five authors but then using “et al.”for the second and subsequent citations.
In October 2019, the American Psychological Association (APA) introduced the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual, which replaces the 6th edition published in 2009. The in-intext citation for works with three or more authors is now abbreviated right from the first citation. You only include the first author’s name and “et al.”
(Mason, Robin, Parker, & Williams, 2008) (Incorrect)
(Mason et al., 2008)(Correct)
Here is how this would look for a source authored by Aneshensel, Rutter, and Lachenbruch (1991) published in 1991.
(Aneshensel et al., 1991)
Aneshensel et al. (1991) emphasized that…
Remember that there is no comma between the surname and “et al.” but a comma should be placed before the date in parentheses citation. Also, the period goes only after the “al.” even when it falls in the middle of a sentence.
There are several common mistakes to watch out when using “et al.” in APA. The “al” in “et al.” is always followed by a period, as the term is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase “et alia” et alia,’’ meaning ‘’and others.’’ In this context, the period shows that it is an abbreviation. Thus, the following forms are not correct: ‘‘et al’’, ‘‘et. al’’, ‘‘et. al.’’
The proper use of the abbreviation is ‘‘et al.’’ Also, “et al.” can be directly followed by another punctuation where necessary. However, the period always comes first: (Aneshensel et al., 2013).
When “et al.” is used right at the end of a sentence, only one period is used:
This approach is discussed by Aneshensel et al.
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For more information about the citation styles and APA style, read the following articles:
How to Format DOI in APA Style (APA 7th Edition Update)
How to Use ‘‘et al.’’ in APA Style (7th Edition)
8 Most Common Citation Styles
Most Common Citation Styles: APA | Chicago | MLA
A Complete Guide to MLA In-Text Citations
Citation Styles | Which Citation Style Should I Use?
APA Style: In-Text Citation | Reference List Entry
Publishing Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals: A Comprehensive Guide
Peer-Reviewed Journals: Definition | Criticism | Importance
Most Important Language Rules to Improve Your Academic Writing
5 Effective Strategies for Successful Editing and Proofreading
6 Tips for Writing Better Assignments
The American Psychological Association (APA) format is the most common style used to cite sources within the social sciences. This handout will give you a brief guide on the Publication Manual of the APA. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Edition).Continue Reading
There are many different citation styles that depend on the academic discipline involved. Some of the most common citation styles are American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and Chicago/Turabian style. APA citation style is used by education, psychology, and social sciences, MLA style is used by the humanities, while Chicago/Turabian style is generally used by business, history, and the fine arts. You will need to check with your manual to determine what is required in your specific area.Continue Reading
The term ‘‘et al.’’ is the abbreviated form of the Latin term ‘‘et alia,’’ which means ‘‘and others.’’ It is used in academic in-text citations when referring to a source with multiple authors. In APA style, for a source with three or more authors, list the first author’s last name and “et al.” for all citations, including the first citation.Continue Reading