et al. Usage

et al. Usage

using et al. When writing an academic or research paper, it is likely that you will use or encounter a source which has more than one author.

Consequently, it may be appropriate, depending on the reference style that your paper requires, to use "et al." when citing sources with more than one author. "et al." is short for the Latin phrases et alii or et aliae. These Latin phrases mean "and others."

Let's take a closer look at et al. usage for the reference styles of APA, MLA, and the Chicago Manual of Style.

1. Using et al. in APA Style

APA Style, 6th ed., distinguishes between three cases of using "et al."

First, for an in-text citation that has two authors, both authors must be listed in every in-text citation. In other words, "et al." may not be used for a source with two authors.

Second, for an in-text citation which has three to five authors, all authors must be listed in the first in-text citation and then “et al.” may be used in subsequent citations in the text.

Finally, for an in-text citation which has six or more authors, "et al." may be used in all in-text citations (to include the first in-text citation).

2. Using et al. in MLA Style

Using "et al." in MLA Style, 7th ed., is easier than the rules required in APA.

List all authors of the source for a source with three or fewer authors. In other words, "et al." may not be used for a source with three or fewer authors.

However, for a source with four or more authors, "et al." may be used in the in-text citation. The in-text citation consists of the first author's last name followed by the page number. For example, (Jenkins et al. 7).

3. Using et al. in the Chicago Manual of Style

The rules for using "et al." in the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., are also slightly simpler than the rules for APA.

For two or three authors, all authors' names should be listed. However, for four to ten authors, all authors' names should be listed in the Bibliography or References, but only the first author's name and "et al." should be listed in the notes and parenthetical citations.

It’s that easy!

Need help with using "et al." in one of your papers? Check out our paper editing service where our expert editors can ensure that you are in compliance with your required reference style.

Related Topics:

MLA Style Basics


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