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When to Use Author “et al.” in Citation and References
We publish because we want to share our knowledge and because we want recognition for our work. We acknowledge people’s ideas and findings by providing citations. Unfortunately, however, the rules regarding this common practice are not always easy to decipher, even for the best of us! We have published a number of other articles that help you navigate citation requirements, for example on the best citation format for science papers, how many references you should include in your research paper, and the general differences between common citation styles .
This article focuses on how to name the authors of cited works, including when to use the abbreviated Latin term “et al.” that usually accompanies the phrase “author et al.” Please make sure to follow the relevant journal guidelines concerning punctuation, citation style, etc., as publishers do not always follow the exact same formatting rules. Let’s start with some general definitions, and then look at specific rules of the most common style guides .
Table of Contents:
- What are the main types of citations?
- Why do we use “et al.” in citations?
- Using “et al.” vs “etc.”
- When Do We Use “et al.” in Citations?
How to Cite “et al.” in APA Style
- How to Cite “et al.” in Chicago
- How to Cite “et al.” in MLA Citations
What are the main types of citations?
When referring to published literature, you need to provide details so that others can find and review the original material you base your ideas and claims on. In your research paper, you can make references to source materials using either endnotes and footnotes (i.e., numbers in the text that refer to the bottom of the page or the end of the paper) or in-text citations. Both styles require you to also provide a reference list at the end of the document.
In-text (or parenthetical) citations
When referencing other literature by author name or title in the text paragraphs of your paper, you are using in-text citations . Another similar method of citing is using parenthetical citations , as the referencing information is usually placed within parentheses. Both of these citation types are common in APA style.
Endnotes and footnotes
Endnotes and footnotes help declutter your writing. They are simple notation systems that allow you to use numbers in the body of a text to reference a cited work. Each number corresponds to further information or a citation entry found at the end of a manuscript (for endnotes) or at the bottom of the page where the cited reference is mentioned (for footnotes).
Footnotes are rarely found in scientific writing but are frequently used in the humanities and social sciences. Additionally, endnotes often replace parenthetical in-text citations in scientific journals these days – make sure you pay attention to the journal guidelines when you prepare your manuscript so that you don’t have to suddenly change your entire citation style before submitting or during the review process.
A reference list compiles all the works cited within a document for ease of reference and is included at the end of a manuscript. It must be included regardless of how the source material is acknowledged within the main body of your article. The author guidelines of your target journal will tell you whether the list has to be ordered alphabetically or in order of appearance in the text (when using a numbered system), and what general style it has to adhere to.
Why do we use “et al.” in citation?
The Latin term “et al.” is short for “et alii” and means “and others.” The abbreviation is used when citing a source with multiple authors. Its function is similar to that of “et cetera”, another common Latin phrase that is usually abbreviated as “etc.” and means “and other similar things.”
Using “et al.” vs “etc.” in Citation and References
As stated above, “et al.” is used strictly when talking about people, while “etc.” is only used for things. Apart from this key difference, they have the same function: replacing a list.
When to Use “et al.” in Reference and Citation
We cannot stress this enough, but always double-check your journal or relevant style guide regarding Latin terms and citations. There is no uniform rule on when to use “et al.”, but at least the phrase’s spelling is consistent. Always write “et al.” in lowercase and include a period after “al.”, even when it appears in the middle of a sentence.
The abbreviation “et al.” replaces author names in endnotes, footnotes, and in-text citations; it depends on the target journal whether “author et al.” citation style can also be used in the reference list or whether all author names need to be spelled out in that section . In the following section, you will find further information on how to cite references according to the most common citation styles and examples.
The APA style is frequently used in social science publications. Examples of book and journal citations are provided below. For information about other sources and special cases, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , Seventh Edition (2020) .
In-text or parenthetical citations (author-date system)
APA style uses the author-date notation, and the in-text citation rules apply to both digital and print editions of books and journals. Also, while providing page number references is optional for paraphrased statements, the APA recommends including them. Also, note that APA style uses the ampersand (&) to list author names in parentheses.
The same author rules apply to all source media including books, print periodicals, electronic journals, etc. Also, since reading electronic journals has become the norm for academics, the APA recommends including a DOI number for each journal article referenced, even if you accessed the document in print. Do not include a period (.) after the DOI information. Also note that APA reference lists should not contain “et al.”, and that the author-number thresholds for formatting rules in the reference list are different from those for in-text citations specified above.
The APA style does not use footnotes and strongly discourages the use of endnotes, which should only provide tangential information. However, sometimes content notes are necessary. In such cases, use the notation covered in Section 2.12 of the APA Publication Manual .
How to Cite “et al.” in Chicago Style
The Chicago style is commonly used in the humanities. Below, we only comment on general book and journal citation formats. For additional information, see Wordvice’s guide on the Chicago Manual of Style , 17th edition . For an example of an annotated paper that uses bibliographic notation (i.e., numbers that refer to sources in a list), see the Pu rdue Owl’s NB sampler. See an example of an author-date paper.
Note that for formally published online sources, such as electronic academic journals, you do not need to include access date information except if required by your publisher or discipline. If no DOI is available, provide the uniform resource locator (URL). Unlike APA style, Chicago style does NOT use the ampersand (&) in name lists; instead, use “and.” Additionally, an author’s given names (first and middle) should be written in full (no initials) unless the author consistently publishes using initials.
Using “et al.” in in-text or parenthetical citations (author-date system)
Parenthetical citations are more commonly adopted by authors in the social, physical, and natural sciences. The same notation is used for digital and print editions of books and journals.
Don’t use “et al.” in reference lists
Using author “et al.” in books
Using author “et al.” in journals
Using “et al.” in endnotes and footnotes (bibliographic system)
How to cite “et al.” in mla style.
The MLA style is commonly used by writers in the humanities. General book and journal citation formations are highlighted below. For information regarding other media and special cases, see Wordvices guide on the MLA Handbook style rules .
Using “et al.” in in-text (parenthetical) citations
The MLA style uses an author-page style instead of an author-date style.
Using “et al.” in the reference list (works cited page)
Using “et al.” in endnotes and footnotes.
The MLA style does not generally encourage endnotes and footnotes; however, it does accommodate their use when needed to clarify points that don’t otherwise belong in the main body of your work. The formats for these notes are similar to the format used for in-text citations, but without the parentheses:
One author : See [last name] [page range]
See Johnson 5-15 for a further discussion of this phenomenon.
[Comment]. See [last name] [page range], [last name] [page range], [last name] [page range]
Several other studies make the same argument. See, for example, Walker and Francis 112-118, Thomson 20-43, and Muller 78-90.
Regarding [content topic], see [last name] [page range] and [last name] [page range]; for [content topic], see [last name] [page range], [last name] [page range], and [last name] [page range].
Regarding this phenomenon’s impact on trauma caretakers, see Miller 54-68 and Willis 23-25; for alternative explanations, see Jones 23-25, Thompson 64-55, and Smith 12-15.
Using Academic Editing Services to Prepare Your Paper
If your sources are in order now but you wonder whether your paper could benefit from a language check, then Wordvice AI’s FREE grammar checker might be what you need.
And be sure to get English proofreading services –including paper editing services –from Wordvice before you submit your manuscript to journals. If you are interested in more articles and other resources that can help you, for example, with finding the perfect title for your paper , ordering author names correctly before you submit, or writing an effective cover letter, then head over to the Wordvice academic resources pages.
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How to Use ‘‘et al.’’ in APA Style (7th Edition)
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.
The Term ‘‘et al.’’ is the Abbreviation of Latin Term ‘‘et elia,’’ Meaning ‘‘and others’’
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. 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. 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.”
For two authors: Always cite both authors' names in-text everytime you reference them.
Here is how this would look for a source authored by Parker, Robin, and Williams published in 2018.
( Parker et al., 2018)
Parker et al. (2018) claimed that…
Note that there will be 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.
The Correct Use of ‘‘et al.’’
Authors make several mistakes when using ‘‘et al.’’ in academic writings. The “al” in “et al.” is always followed by a period because the period shows that it is the abbreviated form of the term ‘‘et alia.’’
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:
(Parker et al., 2018)
When “et al.” is used right at the end of a sentence, only one period is used:
... by Parker et al. (2018)
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For more information about the citation styles and APA style, read the following articles:
The 9 Most Important Changes in the 7th Edition of the APA Manual
APA Manual 7th Edition: In-Text Citation
How to Present Tables and Figures in APA Style (7th edition)
How to Use et al. in APA Style (7th Edition)?
APA Style: In-Text Citation | Reference List Entry
How to Cite Sources in APA Referencing Style? | With APA 7th Edition Update
How and When to Use ”et al.” in APA In-Text Citations?
Citation Styles | Which Citation Style Should I Use?
APA Formatting Guide for Academic Manuscripts
This handout discusses how and when to use et al. in APA style (7th edition). 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.
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- Citation Styles
- Grammar Rules
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How to Cite Sources in APA Referencing Style | With APA 7th Edition Update
Importance of Citations in Academic Writing
A Complete Guide to MLA In-Text Citations
MLA Paper Format: How to Format a Paper in MLA Style
How to Format DOI in APA Style (APA 7th Edition Update)
How to Cite Web Pages in APA Style (7th Edition Update)
APA Manual 7th Edition: The 9 Most Important Changes
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They Also Read
The American Psychological Association (APA) format is the most common style used to cite sources within the social sciences. This article will give you a brief guide on the Publication Manual of the APA. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the APA.
This handout discusses how to present tables and figures in APA style. APA Style offers a specific guideline for formatting tables and figures. In the 7th edition guideline, APA updated the formatting of tables and figures. This article shows how to format numbers, titles, bodies, headings, and notes in APA style.
The American Psychological Association (APA) introduced the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual in October 2019. This edition replaced the previous one, the 6th edition of the manual. Since then, several things have changed. The latest edition also updated the formatting of digital object identifiers (DOI) in APA Style. This article addresses when to include DOIs and uniform resource locators (URLs) in APA Style references.
Et tu, Et al.? How to Cite Multiple Authors in Academic Writing
You’ve done your research, you’ve made your bibliography, and you’re ready to write. But after a short time, you find yourself stuck. In-text citations are driving you crazy! Do you really have to list all six authors of the paper you are referencing? What if the first two authors are the same on two different papers? Is it the same regardless of citation style? Read on to remove your confusion about multiple authors in-text citations.
Single Author In-text Citations: A Refresher
There are three major styles of citation : APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian. APA is used most often by Education, Psychology, and Sciences, MLA is favored by the Humanities, and Chicago by Business, History, and Fine Arts. As the guidelines for author in-text citations vary slightly among the three, it is important to know the difference.
APA requires two types of information: the author’s last name and the date of publication of the work you are citing. If you are citing a direct quote, you must also add the page number.
There was no direct causal relationship found between the two events (Burnett, 1995)
Burnett (1995) noted that “Subsequent investigation revealed that the two events had no direct causal relationship to one another,” (p.147).
MLA style requires only the author and page number, as seen in the example below. There is no difference in citation style between a direct quote or a paraphrase.
It is still unknown whether caffeine delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (Grant, 204).
Chicago style requires all three whether you are paraphrasing or not.
A daily serving of broccoli was found to help patients recover more quickly from scurvy (Poblanski 2015, 99-100).
Citing Multiple Authors: How should you use “et al.”?
“Et al.” is a Latin term that means “and others,” and is used for in-text citations of works with multiple authors. The guidelines for using “et al.” vary slightly among the three major formatting styles.
MLA uses “et al.” for works with three or more authors, while Chicago calls for using it with four or more authors. APA format requires that you cite all of the authors at the first mention if there are three, four, or five , and use “et al.” afterward. If there are at least six authors, then you may use “et al.” from the first mention. In all cases, you should use the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” in your in-text citation.
For a paper written by Henderson, Watts, and Kirkland, the MLA citation would look like this:
Peanut butter is a rich source of protein (Henderson, et al. 328).
According to Henderson et al., peanut butter is a rich source of protein (328).
For a paper written by Rhyu, Lee, McSnyder, and Xi, the Chicago citation would look like this:
- Japanese wartime aggression remains a controversial topic in much of East Asia (Rhyu et al. 2012, 45).
According to Rhyu et al. (2012), Japanese wartime aggression remains a controversial topic in much of East Asia (45).
For the same paper cited in APA format, the first citation would be as follows:
- Japanese wartime aggression remains a controversial topic in much of East Asia (Rhyu, Lee, McSnyder, and Xi, 2012).
Additional in-text citations of the same paper in APA format would look like this:
South Korea’s state history textbook controversy of 2014 is a good example of this debate (Rhyu et al. 2012).
Same Authors, Same Year, Different Article
“Et al.” can create ambiguity in some situations. Take the following example of two publications.
- Lee, J. N., Lebowski, B., Kelly, J., & Ryan, T. (2000). “Intellectual Property Law in FTA Negotiations.” Journal of East Asian Affairs, 13, 14–25.
- Lee, J. N., Lebowski, B., Kelly, J., & Ryan, T. (2000). “Multinational Corporate Influence in the WTO.” Journal of World Trade, 67, 38-55.
Each citation style solves this problem a little differently. MLA adds the name of the text in parentheses, while APA and Chicago recommend adding a letter after the year to distinguish between the works.
MLA : Lee et al. point out that FTA negotiations have gone far beyond the original scope of goods and services trade to incorporate regulatory measures (“Intellectual Property Law in FTA Negotiations,” 20).
APA/Chicago : Lee et al. (2000a) point out that FTA negotiations have gone far beyond the original scope of goods and services trade to incorporate regulatory measures.
Note that in the bibliography of your paper, if you are using APA or Chicago style and you distinguish two papers this way, your bibliography should reflect this. For example:
- Lee, J. N., Lebowski, B., Kelly, J., & Ryan, T. (2000a). “Intellectual Property Law in FTA Negotiations.” Journal of East Asian Affairs, 13, 14–25.
- Lee, J. N., Lebowski, B., Kelly, J., & Ryan, T. (2000b). “Multinational Corporate Influence in the WTO.” Journal of World Trade, 67, 38-55.
Et al. is Always Plural
One last thing to note about “et al.” is that it is plural: it can never refer to only one author. What should we do in the following situation? We are citing the following two papers in APA format.
- Lee, J. N., Lebowski, B., Kelly, J., Ryan, T, & Grant, R. (2000). Pharmaceutical Access and Intellectual Property Law in the WTO. Pacific Review, 15, 177–209.
The first in-text citation of these two papers would be as follows.
- (Lee, Lebowski, & Ryan, 2000)
- (Lee, Lebowski, Ryan, & Grant, 2000)
However, if we write (Lee et al., 2000), we are left with two identical citations. We cannot use (Lee, Lebowski, & Ryan et al. 2000), because “et al.” should refer to two more people. So, we must write all four names each time we cite it.
How do you make sure to use et al. correctly? What else confuses you about citations? Let us know in the comments!
I just want to use forum to thank Enago academy for delivering this resource material to us free of charge. I have this question also and that is ‘when an author is citing another author in an in-text citing who was cited by an author in a text, what is the new standard for this citation in APA?’ Emengini steve Emeka
Dear Emeka Emengini,
Thank you for getting in touch with Enago Academy. The following APA blog post nicely addresses your original query: http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2010/05/secondary-sources-aka-how-to-cite-a-source-you-found-in-another-source.html
It is generally a good idea to cite the original source. Secondary sources may be cited only under certain circumstances, as outlined in the above APA blog post. Enago Academy had posted a related article on the APA style guide earlier this year. In case you have more questions for us, please route them through the Q&A Forum. It’s a FREE service for authors. Make sure you share this with your colleagues too. Have a wonderful week ahead and season’s greetings!
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In-Text Citations: Author/Authors
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APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , (6 th ed., 2 nd printing).
Note: This page reflects APA 6, which is now out of date. It will remain online until 2021, but will not be updated. The equivalent APA 7 page can be found here .
APA style has a series of important rules on using author names as part of the author-date system. There are additional rules for citing indirect sources, electronic sources, and sources without page numbers.
Citing an Author or Authors
A Work by Two Authors: Name both authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses each time you cite the work. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in parentheses.
A Work by Three to Five Authors: List all the authors in the signal phrase or in parentheses the first time you cite the source. Use the word "and" between the authors' names within the text and use the ampersand in parentheses.
In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
Six or More Authors: Use the first author's name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in parentheses.
Unknown Author: If the work does not have an author, cite the source by its title in the signal phrase or use the first word or two in the parentheses. Titles of books and reports are italicized; titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are in quotation marks. APA style calls for capitalizing important words in titles when they are written in the text (but not when they are written in reference lists).
Note : In the rare case the "Anonymous" is used for the author, treat it as the author's name (Anonymous, 2001). In the reference list, use the name Anonymous as the author.
Organization as an Author: If the author is an organization or a government agency, mention the organization in the signal phrase or in the parenthetical citation the first time you cite the source.
If the organization has a well-known abbreviation, include the abbreviation in brackets the first time the source is cited and then use only the abbreviation in later citations.
Two or More Works in the Same Parentheses: When your parenthetical citation includes two or more works, order them the same way they appear in the reference list (viz., alphabetically), separated by a semi-colon.
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Parentheses: When your parenthetical citation includes two or more works from the same author, list the years of publication in sequence, with the earliest first. Provide in-press citations last. Only list authors' surnames once for each list of dates.
Following this pattern, multiple works from multiple authors can be contained within a single parenthetical. Separate authors' sources with a semicolon. Note, however, that the authors' names should be provided in the order they appear in the reference list regardless of when their sources were published.
Authors With the Same Last Name: To prevent confusion, use first initials with the last names.
Two or More Works by the Same Author in the Same Year: If you have two sources by the same author in the same year, use lower-case letters (a, b, c) with the year to order the entries in the reference list. Use the lower-case letters with the year in the in-text citation.
Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, and Afterwords: When citing an Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword in-text, cite the appropriate author and year as usual.
(Funk & Kolln, 1992)
Personal Communication: For interviews, letters, e-mails, and other person-to-person communication, cite the communicator's name, the fact that it was personal communication, and the date of the communication. Do not include personal communication in the reference list.
Citing Indirect Sources
If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses.
Note: When citing material in parentheses, set off the citation with a comma, as above. Also, try to locate the original material and cite the original source.
If possible, cite an electronic document the same as any other document by using the author-date style.
Unknown Author and Unknown Date: If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal phrase or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses and use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date").
Sources Without Page Numbers
When an electronic source lacks page numbers, you should try to include information that will help readers find the passage being cited. When an electronic document has numbered paragraphs, use the abbreviation "para." followed by the paragraph number (Hall, 2001, para. 5). If the paragraphs are not numbered and the document includes headings, provide the appropriate heading and specify the paragraph under that heading. Note that in some electronic sources, like webpages, people can use the "find" function in their browser to locate any passages you cite.
Note: Never use the page numbers of webpages you print out; different computers print webpages with different pagination.
The APA Publication Manual describes how to cite many different kinds of authors and content creators. However, you may occasionally encounter a source or author category that the manual does not describe, making the best way to proceed can be unclear.
In these cases, it's typically acceptable to apply the general principles of APA citation to the new kind of source in a way that's consistent and sensible. A good way to do this is to simply use the standard APA directions for a type of source that resembles the source you want to cite. For example, a sensible way to cite a virtual reality program would be to mimic the APA's guidelines for ordinary computer software .
You may also want to investigate whether a third-party organization has provided directions for how to cite this kind of source. For example, Norquest College provides guidelines for citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers —an author category that does not appear in the APA Manual . In cases like this, it's a good idea to ask your instructor or supervisor whether using third-party citation guidelines might present problems.
Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / How to use et al. in MLA
How to use et al. in MLA
When you need to cite sources that have three or more authors or contributors, you don’t have to cite all of the contributors’ names. Instead, you can use et al.
Et al. is an abbreviation for the Latin word, et alii, which means “and others.” Using et al. shows that three or more contributors wrote, edited, or collaborated on the work, even though only one name is listed in the citation.
Using et al. in MLA
There are many places in mla citation style where you can use et al..
- Works with three or more writers
- Works with three or more editors
- Collections of essays, stories, or poems with three or more contributors
Citing a journal article in MLA is a common instance where you may need to use et al., as journal articles often have three or more authors.
When to use et al.
You can use et al. in both your MLA in-text citations and the Works Cited page. When using et al., you should always use the name of the writer listed first in the source material.
Note: Using et al. should not be confused with etc. or other abbreviations that indicate more content than listed. For example, etc. is an abbreviation for et cetera and is used at the end of a list to indicate that there are other similar items included in the list that are not names.
How to Format et al. in MLA Style
The format to write et al. is always the same: et al. Use lowercase letters with no punctuation after et and a period after al.
To format an in-text citation
- Use the first writer’s last name. Use the first writer listed on the source material. Do not use any of the other writers’ names.
- Follow the last name with et al. Write et al. in lowercase letters. There is no punctuation after the et, and there is always a period after the al.
- Other end punctuation can come after the period following al., but you must include the period because this is an abbreviation.
Example et al. citations for the following source
- Title: “Interrogating Disciplines/Disciplinarity in WAC/WID: An Institutional Study”
- Author(s): Anne Ruggles Gere, Sarah C. Swofford, Naomi Silver and Melody Pugh.
- Source: College Composition and Communication , vol. 67, no. 2, 2015, pp. 243–266
In-text citation example
(Gere et al. 243)
The Works Cited page citation for that source
Gere, Anne Ruggles, et al. “Interrogating Disciplines/Disciplinarity in WAC/WID: An Institutional Study.” College Composition and Communication , vol. 67, no. 2, 2015, pp. 243–266. JSTOR , www.jstor.org/stable/24633857.
NOTE: A comma is needed after the name before et al. in the works cited citation, but it is not required for the in-text citation example.
Gere, Anne Ruggles, et al. “Interrogating Disciplines/Disciplinarity in WAC/WID: An Institutional Study.” College Composition and Communication , vol. 67, no. 2, 2015, pp. 243–266., www.jstor.org/stable/24633857. Accessed 6 Oct. 2020.
MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
Published October 25, 2020.
By Catherine Sigler. Catherine has a Ph.D. in English Education and has taught college-level writing for 15 years.
MLA Formatting Guide
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How to Use Et Al. in Every Format—Et Al. Meaning
Written by Scribendi
Have you ever come across "et al." and wondered what it meant? Or how to use it?
If so, you're not alone. This Latin phrase is commonly used in academic writing and can be confused with other Latin phrases like "etc."
Things get even more complex when you realize that the placement of et al. changes depending on what style guide you're using.
Read on for a simplified breakdown of how to use et al. in every format, so you never get stuck.
Et Al. Meaning
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, it helps to first understand the literal definition of et al. That way, you'll know exactly what you're saying when you use the term.
The phrase "et al." is derived from the Latin phrase "et alia," which means "and others." You are likely to encounter et al. in the references, in-text citations, and reference lists of academic texts.
For example, you might see the phrase, "Horowitz et al. (2012) published groundbreaking research," which means that Horowitz and others published the research.
Why Is Et Al. Used?
Et al. is used to simplify citations within your text or reference list. It lets the reader know that other authors have contributed to the work you're citing, without you having to list every author.
Et al. is also used to simplify subsequent references to groups of coauthors that have already been cited in full. For example, if you're citing the same group over and over, using et al. can simplify that citation throughout your paper.
How to Write Et Al.
Where should i put the period.
The period in et al. should go at the end of "al" because "al" is an abbreviation for "alia," meaning "others."
There is no period after "et" because "et" isn't an abbreviation. It's a full word in Latin, meaning "and."
Remember, "et al." is the only correct way to type this phrase.
A trick for remembering to include the period after "al" is to think of another common abbreviation, "etc."
"Etc." abbreviates et cetera, meaning "and the rest," and it always requires a period at the end. So et al., which is similar, always takes a period at the end too.
Here are a few common misspellings of et al.:
When you use other punctuation with et al., like a comma, it goes after the period. But if you're ending a sentence with et al., you don't need an additional period.
Should I Italicize Et Al.?
Most major style guides (including APA, MLA, the Chicago Manual of Style, and Harvard) do not require et al. to be italicized. However, some field-specific publications do require the italicization of the phrase, so it's always a good idea to double-check.
Using et al. in a sentence appropriately varies among style guides. Check out the overviews of different style guides below to make sure you're using this tricky phrase correctly.
How to Use Et Al., with Examples
APA format, established by the American Psychological Association, is commonly used for publications, essays, reports, and books in the fields of psychology and social science.
Also called APA style, this format has established specific standards for scientific and scholarly writing. It encourages uniformity and consistency in the way content is organized and references are cited.
APA in-text citations, reference lists, and title pages adhere to formatting requirements that differ from those of other styles.
For example, APA includes the author's surname and publication year in in-text citations, using an ampersand if there are two authors:
(Smith & Jones, 2012)
Another differentiator between APA and other styles is that APA requires a cover page, called a Title Page, and uses the title "References" above the citation list at the end of papers or manuscripts.
Traditionally, APA format is used for a range of subjects in the social and behavioral sciences, including:
When to Use Et Al. in APA
When dealing with a work by three or more authors in APA format (seventh edition), use the first author's last name in the signal phrase or parenthesis, followed by et al.
(McKenzie et al., 2020)
McKenzie et al. (2020)
Keep in mind that et al. wouldn't be needed if you were citing just two authors. If you were citing two authors and you replaced one of their names with et al., meaning "and others," this would be incorrect.
Use et al. in APA in-text citations only if you're citing at least three authors, and remember that et al. is never used in the reference list in APA.
Et Al. Example in APA Format
The use of et al. in APA format differs from other styles when it comes to the References.
Its format requires listing the surnames and first initials of up to 20 authors, placing an ampersand before the final author.
Karloff, J., McMahon, S., Watson, C., Williamson, M., Russell, S., Holden, R., Williams, B., Messier, A., Nesbo, J., Lamott, A., Shaffer, M., Barrows, A., Perry, T., Rooney, K., Cruz, M., Warren, G., Granville, D., Gonzalez, R., Johnson, S., & Galloway, J.
For more than 20 authors, you would replace all authors after the 19th with ellipses, followed by the final author's name.
Karloff, J., McMahon, S., Watson, C., Williamson, M., Russell, S., Holden, R., Williams, B., Messier, A., Nesbo, J., Lamott, A., Shaffer, M., Barrows, A., Perry, T., Rooney, K., Cruz, M., Warren, G., Granville, D., Gonzalez, R., Johnson, S., … Galloway, J.
Et Al. in APA In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors
When citing three or more authors in text with APA (seventh edition), you can use et al. upon the first and subsequent references to a source.
Before the seventh edition of APA, the names of up to five authors had to be spelled out in the text. Et al. could only be used upon subsequent references.
Luckily, the seventh edition has been simplified. Here is an example of how to use et al. for in-text citations in APA.
Three or more authors:
Parenthetical: (Johnson et al., 2020)
Nonparenthetical: Johnson et al. (2020)
MLA format was developed by the Modern Language Association. It provides specific guidelines for students and researchers writing academically in the fields of language and literature.
Often called MLA style, this format allows for an easy reading experience. It offers a uniform and consistent method of adding citations to books or literature.
Using et al. in MLA is different from APA and other styles in its requirements for the use of et al. MLA has different standards for layout, citations, and abbreviations.
There are also slight differences in the way authors are cited. But the spelling of et al. is always the same, regardless of the style guide being used, with lowercase letters and no punctuation after "et"—the only punctuation is the period after "al."
MLA format is traditionally used by writers and students creating work in the following disciplines:
Language and literature
If you're formatting an essay or paper in MLA, the most updated edition is the ninth, published in April 2021.
When to Use Et Al. in MLA
You can use et al. in MLA when referring to multiple authors—three or more, to be exact. And you can add et al. to both your in-text citations and your Works Cited page (the name for the reference list).
Et Al. Example in MLA Format
Let's look at how to cite multiple authors in MLA in your Works Cited page with et al.
See the following two examples for citing a collection of poems and a collection of stories using et al. in MLA.
O'Hara, Frank, et al. The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara . University of California Press, 1995.
Levine, Robert S., et al. The Norton Anthology of American Literature . Ninth ed., W.W. Norton &
Note that the second line of the citation is indented by half an inch.
Et Al. in MLA In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors
Now, we'll review how to cite multiple authors using et al. in MLA in-text citations.
MLA format requires the inclusion of the first author's surname, then et al., and then the page number.
(Lackey et al. 56)
The above is an example of a parenthetical in-text citation with et al. Here is an example of how to incorporate it within your prose:
According to Gilbert et al., "Today, however, we can see more clearly just how complex and multifaceted Woolf's set of women writers really is" (23).
The Chicago Manual of Style, often called CMS, CMOS, or Chicago, is a style guide used by authors, editors, indexers, designers, and publishers to prepare manuscripts and to aid in the revision of grammar, punctuation, and usage.
Dubbed the "editor's bible," the Chicago Manual of Style is typically used with material intended for publication. It's the style most often applied to novels, blogs, and creative nonfiction.
A key differentiator of Chicago style is that it offers two systems for source citations: notes and bibliography or author-date.
The notes and bibliography system is used by scholars and writers working in the humanities, and the author-date system is preferred by writers in the fields of science and social science.
That being said, here are a few of the most common fields in which Chicago style is used:
The most recent edition is the 17th, which was published in September 2017. Let's look at how to use et al. in Chicago style.
When to Use Et Al. in Chicago Style
In essays adhering to Chicago style, you can use et al. when citing a source with four or more authors.
The format and placement of et al. can vary because, as we mentioned earlier, Chicago uses two systems for source citation: notes and bibliography and author-date. So the placement really depends on which system you're using!
But as a general rule, you can use et al. in your in-text citations, in your footnotes and endnotes, and in your reference list at the end of your document.
Note that bibliographies go with the notes and bibliography system, and reference lists go with the author-date system.
Et Al. Example in Chicago Style
You will use et al. in bibliographic form in Chicago Style for sources with more than 10 authors. In such cases, you'll list the first seven authors, followed by et al.
The citation format in your bibliography will change depending on whether you're using the notes and bibliography system or the author-date system, but the placement and format of et al. are the same.
Notes and bibliography system:
Jackson, Tiffany D., Nic Stone, Ashley Woodfolk, Dhonielle Clayton, Angie Thomas, Nicola Yoon,
Natasha Schrader, et al. Blackout . New York, NY: Quill Tree Books, an imprint of
HarperCollins Publishers, 2021.
Natasha Schrader, et al. 2021. Blackout . New York, NY: Quill Tree Books, an imprint of
Et Al. in Chicago Style In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors
When using et al. in an in-text citation of four or more authors, et al. can be formatted in a few different ways, depending on which source citation system you're using. Take a look at the examples below.
In the author-date system, et al. goes after the first author's surname in an in-text citation.
(Johnson et al. 2021, 465)
In the notes and bibliography system, et al. can go in a short or long footnote. Here's how the format breaks down for each type:
Short footnote: Johnson et al.
Long footnote: David Johnson et al.
Turabian style is similar to Chicago style when it comes to how to write et al. Published by Kate L. Turabian in 1937, this style was created for researchers and students. Its official title is A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.
You can think of it as a student's version of Chicago style. Turabian style places greater emphasis on student needs regarding the formatting of papers and citations, and this is its biggest differentiator.
This manual is also shorter and contains fewer instructions than others. Another differentiator of Turabian is that it covers a wide spectrum of disciplines, including:
If you're looking for the latest edition, be sure to use the ninth, published in 2018.
When to Use Et Al. in Turabian Style
As in Chicago style, you can use et al. in a sentence in Turabian when citing four or more authors.
You can also use et al. when citing sources in both the main text and the bibliography, and this is true of both the notes and bibliography and the author-date citation systems.
Where you should put et al. and how you should format it will vary depending on which citation system you use. Just keep in mind that you can use et al. in Turabian style whenever you have four or more authors to cite.
Et Al. Example in Turabian Style
The great thing about using Turabian style is that if you understand how to use et al. in Chicago style, using it in Turabian will be a breeze.
Below are some examples of how to write et al. in either your bibliography (notes and bibliography system) or reference list (author-date system) in Turabian style.
Notes and bibliography system (book):
Using the Turabian citation system, you'll follow the same format for et al. Only the placement of the publication date changes. See the examples below.
Kitamura, Katie, Allen Johnson, Birk Meyer, Alex Fritas, Joan Bigsby, Becca Thomas, Greg
Lewis, et al. A Separation . New York: Riverhead Books. 2017.
Author-date citation system (book):
For more than 10 authors, list the first seven authors and follow them up with et al.
Kitamura, Katie, Allen Johnson, Birk Meyer, Alex Fritas, Joan Bigsby, Becca Thomas, Greg Lewis,
et al. 2017. A Separation . New York: Riverhead Books.
Et Al. in Turabian In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors
Using et al. in your in-text citations is the same in Turabian as it is in Chicago style. You'll put et al. in your footnotes (short and long) and within your text. Below are examples of each.
(Johnson et al. 2017, 45)
In the notes and bibliography system, et al. could go in a short or long footnote. Here's how the format breaks down for each type of footnote.
Short footnote: Weber et al.
Long footnote: Jesse N. Weber et al.
Harvard style is a popular formatting style across many universities. It's been known to go by a couple of different names, including the Harvard Referencing System and Author-Date Referencing.
There's no official connection between Harvard style and Harvard University. This style is simply another way for students to cite their sources and format their papers uniformly.
Common disciplines that use this style include the following:
The thing to remember about Harvard style is that it isn't as cut-and-dried as other styles—different schools have different requirements. This means that using et al. in Harvard style can change depending on what school you go to.
Be sure to refer to your professor's instructions before using et al. in your papers.
For the purposes of this post, we'll be talking about how to use et al. following Harvard Business School's Citation Guide.
When to Use Et Al. in Harvard Style
While some aspects of Harvard style can vary across institutions, one thing everyone seems to agree on is that et al. should be used to cite four or more authors.
So you should use et al. when you're citing four or more authors in both your footnotes and in your bibliography. You can also use the term in both parenthetical statements and as a signal phrase.
Et Al. Example in Harvard Style
In the bibliography section of your paper, you can use et al. for academic citations of sources with four or more authors .
Unlike Chicago, you don't have to list a certain number of authors before you list et al.—you can simply use et al. after the first author's name.
Here are two examples, one for a book citation and one for a web citation:
Christensen, C. Roland, et al. Business Policy: Text and Cases . 5th ed. Homewood, IL: Richard
D. Irwin, Inc., 1982.
Enright, Michael J., et al. "Daewoo and the Korean Chaebol." University of Hong Kong case no.
HKU143 (University of Hong Kong, August 2001). Harvard Business Publishing.
https://hbsp.harvard.edu/, accessed March 2007.
Et Al. in Harvard Style In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors
When it comes to using et al. in Harvard style in-text citations, you can use it in your footnotes, parenthetical phrases, and signal phrases.
See examples of each below.
³C. Roland Christensen et al., Business Policy: Text and Cases, 5th ed. (Homewood, IL:
Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1982), p. 101.
(Johnson et al. 2007)
Johnson et al. (2007)
Again, keep in mind that Harvard style gives your instructor leeway in their guidelines for how to format et al., so be sure to follow their instructions.
An additional way to cite references is to use Vancouver style. This style was developed in Vancouver in 1978 by medical journal editors. It is most commonly used in medicine and science.
The biggest difference between Vancouver and other styles is its use of numbers. Often called the Numbering System, Vancouver cites sources by placing numbers within parentheses or superscripts in the main text.
These citation numbers are tied to entries in your reference list. Like in other styles, your reference list in Vancouver style will have all of the sources you've cited within your text.
Some common fields that use Vancouver are as follows:
As in Harvard style, keep in mind that some universities and organizations have their own specific formatting requirements when it comes to citing work with et al. in Vancouver style.
When to Use Et Al. in Vancouver Style
With Vancouver style, you can use et al. for both in-text citations and within the reference list.
You should use et al. in your reference list when citing more than six authors. If you're citing just six authors, you'll need to spell out each author's surname and first initial, separating each author with a comma.
You should use et al. within the main text when citing multiple authors. Some universities differ in terms of how many authors, so it's best to check with your institution to confirm its preferences for this style.
Et Al. Example in Vancouver Style
Let's start our et al. examples for Vancouver with those in bibliographic form.
In Vancouver style, the bibliography is called a reference list. You'll add et al. to reference entries only if you're listing more than six authors. List the first six authors, then add et al.
Here's an example of a book citation with et al. in the reference list:
Doornbos MM, Groenhout ER, Hotz GK, Brandsen C, Cusveller B, Flikkema M, et al.
Transforming care: a Christian vision of nursing practice. Grand Rapids, Michigan:
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 2005.
Note that the authors' surnames are followed by their first and (in many cases) middle initials, without punctuation.
Here's an example for an electronic journal article:
Aho M, Irshad B, Ackerman SJ, Lewis M, Leddy R, Pope T, et al. Correlation of sonographic
features of invasive ductal mammary carcinoma with age, tumor grade, and
hormone-receptor status. J Clin Ultrasound [Internet]. 2013 Jan [cited 2015 Apr
27];41(1):10-7. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcu.21990/full
Et Al. in Vancouver Style In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors
As far as in-text citations go in Vancouver style, you can use et al. directly in the text, followed by a reference number.
Because Vancouver references sources within parentheses or superscripts, here are examples using et al. in-text with both systems:
Harrison et al. (5) agree that only one solution is viable.
Harrison et al. 5 agree that only one solution is viable.
Et Alibi, Et Alii, and Others
Sometimes, et al. can be confused with other Latin phrases like et alibi and et alii. This is understandable because the terms all begin with the same letters!
Don't worry. Over the next few sections, we'll break down what each of these phrases means. That way, if you need to use them in your next paper or article, you won't use them incorrectly.
Et alia is the Latin phrase for "and others," and the phrase "et al." is its abbreviated form.
Et alia is meant to be used when a list contains too many people or things to name. In academic writing, it is used when citing sources with multiple authors.
However, the full phrase "et alia" isn't typically spelled out in academic writing. In papers, journals, and manuscripts, the abbreviated form "et al." is used, with a period after "al."
Et alibi means "and elsewhere" in Latin. It's used in academic writing to show that the information you're citing is mentioned in other parts of a text, too.
For example, if you're citing a passage from the Bible that can also be found in other locations of the text, that would be a perfect instance for using et alibi.
Keep in mind that "et al." is the abbreviated form of both et alibi and et alia.
Et aliae also means "and others" but in the feminine plural form. This means that et aliae refers specifically to a group of women or girls.
However, you won't need to differentiate between feminine or masculine forms when using et al. in your writing. You would simply use "et al."—the abbreviated form of both.
The Latin phrase et alii means "and others" in the masculine plural form. It’s used to refer to a group of men or boys.
But the abbreviated form, "et al.," is still what you would use to cite multiple authors.
As long as you can remember how to write the abbreviation et al. in your papers, you're good to go!
Difference between Et Al. and Etc.
Do you ever confuse et al. with etc.? You're not alone. The two are very similar.
While et al. means "and others" in Latin, etc. is short for the Latin et cetera and means "and the rest."
Both phrases indicate that something has been omitted from the text, and both are abbreviations. However, there are key differences to keep in mind to avoid using them incorrectly in your paper.
You use etc. to shorten a list. Its use lets the reader know that there are more items or examples you could list but that the shortened list allows the reader to get the idea.
For example, if you were to write, "The event is at the beach, so bring your swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, sandals, etc.," readers know they need to bring all beach items, not just the ones mentioned.
Similarly, you use et al. to shorten a list of authors or collaborators.
Spelling and formatting Latin phrases is no walk in the park—especially when you need to get them right to earn a passing grade.
It also doesn't help that each style guide has its own formatting or that many Latin phrases can sound the same. It's enough to make your head spin!
Below, we'll cover common mistakes made when using et al. and why using it is so important for clear and concise academic writing.
Spelling Latin phrases can be tricky, but abbreviating them correctly can be even trickier.
When using et al. in your papers, be sure to abbreviate it correctly and to use the right punctuation.
Et al. is always spelled as two separate words—"et" and "al"—with a period after "al."
The best way to remember how to punctuate and spell it is to remember that it's an abbreviation.
Here are a few common misspellings of et al. so you know to avoid them:
Using the Incorrect Style
Spelling et al. correctly is only half the battle. You'll also need to be sure you're using et al. in the style required by your university, institution, or professor.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many style guides to choose from, including MLA, Chicago, APA, and Turabian.
Each style has its own specific format for et al., so be sure to study its guidelines carefully before adding et al. to your references.
You'll especially want to take note of how et al. is used in both in-text and reference list citations and how many authors necessitate its use.
Not Using Et Al.
Using et al. is a clear and concise way of communicating your source information to readers without overwhelming them or taking away from your work.
It lets readers know that multiple authors or collaborators contributed to the source without having to list them all. Also, when referencing a source with several authors or collaborators multiple times, the use of et al. keeps the writing neat and tidy.
Not using et al. would make academic writing awkwardly long and arduous within the main text while extending bibliographies and reference lists unnecessarily.
Et al. helps academic writers and authors reference their sources in a clean-cut way.
How to Cite a Tweet
Nowadays, it's not uncommon for students or researchers to turn to social platforms like Twitter for their research.
Because of this, styles like MLA, APA, and Chicago have stayed current by offering standards for formatting citations of Tweets in research papers and scholarly articles.
Each style has its own formatting requirements for citing a Tweet, and these can vary among different editions of the same style.
Below are instructions for citing Tweets in each of the three major styles.
To cite a Tweet in MLA (ninth edition), you'll cite the first name and surname of the account holder (or the name of the organization) in addition to the Twitter handle.
Here is the basic structure:
Surname, First name [Username]. "Tweet message." Twitter , date posted, URL.
Here's an example:
Swift, Taylor [@taylorswift13]. "I'm so proud of this song and the memories I have with you guys
because of it." Twitter , 22 November 2021,
To cite a Tweet from an organization in MLA, you'll use this structure:
Organization or Account Name [Username]. "Tweet message". Twitter , date posted, URL.
The Wall Street Journal [@WSJ]. "Activist hedge fund Trian has acquired a stake in Unilever,
people familiar with the matter say, adding pressure on the consumer-goods company."
Twitter , 23 January 2022, twitter.com/WSJ/status/1485356694972551171.
To cite a Tweet in APA style (seventh edition), you'll do things a little differently from MLA. APA requires only the author's full surname with the first name initialized.
You'll also include only the first 20 words of the Tweet in your reference.
Surname, Initials [@username]. (Year, Month Day). Text of Tweet [Tweet]. Twitter. URL
Gates, B. [@BillGates]. (2019, September 7). Today, it's difficult for researchers to diagnose
#Alzheimers patients early enough to intervene. A reliable, easy and accurate diagnostic
would [Thumbnail with link attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.
To cite a Tweet in Chicago style, you'll include many of the same elements as Tweet citations in other styles, but you'll also add a timestamp.
The general structure is as follows:
First name Surname (@TwitterHandle), "Text of Tweet," Twitter, Month Day, Year, 00:00
a.m., link to Tweet.
Here's an example from the Chicago Manual of Style:
Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien), "In honor of Earth Day, I'm recycling my Tweets," Twitter, April
22, 2015, 11:10 a.m., https://twitter.com/ConanOBrien/status/590940792967016448.
If you'd like to cite a Tweet within your text, here's an example using the above Tweet:
Conan O'Brien's Tweet was characteristically deadpan: "In honor of Earth Day, I'm recycling my Tweets" (@ConanOBrien, April 22, 2015).
Frequently Asked Questions
What does et al. mean in a citation.
In a citation, et al. indicates that multiple authors are being cited within a reference in an academic work but that not all of their names are listed.
It's not uncommon for some sources to have 10 or even 20 authors, given the collaborative nature of research in the fields of medicine and science. Using et al. is a way of ensuring that all authors are referenced without crowding the content.
When Should Et Al. Be Used in APA Style?
Use et al. in APA in-text citations with multiple authors, as well as in the References. Specifically, use it when dealing with a work by three to five authors. You'll use the first author's surname in the signal phrase, parenthetical statement, or bibliographic entry, followed by et al.
Keep in mind that you should use et al. only for three or more authors, not two. Since et al. is an abbreviation for "and others," it must stand in for more than one person. If you were trying to cite two authors and you used et al. after the first one, et al. would represent one person as opposed to several "others," which would be incorrect.
What Is Et Al. in MLA?
In MLA style, et al. is an abbreviated Latin phrase meaning "and others." It indicates that multiple authors contributed to the source being cited but that not all of them are listed.
MLA recommends using et al. for sources with three or more authors. Et al. can be used both within the main text and on the Works Cited page. It's punctuated in the same way as in other styles, with a period after "al" only.
Here is a citation example using et al. in MLA:
(Gubar et al. 56)
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How to Cite with Et Al
Last Updated: July 13, 2021 References
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD . Jennifer Mueller is a wikiHow Content Creator. She specializes in reviewing, fact-checking, and evaluating wikiHow's content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. Jennifer holds a JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 10,941 times. Learn more...
Having to list multiple authors every time you reference a work can get cumbersome, and makes your writing clunky. This is where "et al." comes into play. "Et al." is a Latin phrase that means "and others."  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source In academic and professional writing, this phrase often stands in for the names of multiple authors. How and when you use "et al.", however, depends on whether you're using the Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), or Chicago citation style.
- Example: Pine, Marshall, et al.
- Example: Pine, Marshall, et al. Missing the Forest for the Trees .
- Example: Pine, Marshall, et al. Missing the Forest for the Trees . Evergreen Publishing, 2020.
MLA Works Cited Format
LastName, FirstName, et al. Title of Book in Title Case . Publisher, Year.
- For example, you might write: "The growth of cities has meant trees are more ornamental than natural (Pine et al. 72)."
- If you mention the author's name in your text, you don't need to repeat it in your parenthetical citation. However, you still need to include the page number. Include the phrase "et al." after the author's name in your text to ensure the other authors are acknowledged. For example, you might write: "According to Pine et al., Christmas tree farms actually damage the environment (74)."
Tip: If you have multiple references with different authors who have the same last name, add the authors' first initials to differentiate them. If you have multiple references by the same author, use the title rather than the author's last name in your in-text citation.
- Example: Brown, J. G., Green, T. W., Black, S. J., White, D. S., & Gray, E. C.
- Example: Brown, J. G., Green, T. W., Black, S. J., White, D. S., & Gray, E. C. (2020).
- Example: Brown, J. G., Green, T. W., Black, S. J., White, D. S., & Gray, E. C. (2020). Full spectrum: Color analysis in the 21st century .
- Example: Brown, J. G., Green, T. W., Black, S. J., White, D. S., & Gray, E. C. (2020). Full spectrum: Color analysis in the 21st century . Rainbow Books.
APA Reference List Format
LastName, FirstInitial. MiddleInitial., LastName, FirstInitial. MiddleInitial., LastName, FirstInitial. MiddleInitial., LastName, FirstInitial. MiddleInitial., & LastName, FirstInitial. MiddleInitial. (Year). Book title in sentence case: Subtitle if any in sentence case . Publisher.
- For example, you might write: "Although colors are thought of as static, the social perception of colors does change with time and new colors have been invented in the 21st century (Brown et al., 2020)."
- If you mention the author's name in your text, place the year of publication in parentheses immediately after the name. For example, you might write: "According to Brown et al. (2020), some languages don't even have words for abstract colors."
Tip: If you're directly quoting from the source, include the page number or numbers where the quoted material appears after the date.
- For example, if you had another book in your references written by Brown, Fall, and Light, you could have "(Brown, Green, et al., 2020)" and "(Brown, Fall, et al., 2020)."
- If the books were published in different years, the year of publication is enough to distinguish them. You would stay with the single author's name plus "et al." in that case.
- Example: Mars, William, Miranda Hershey, Gustav Lindt, and Natalia Nestlé.
Tip: If the source has more than 10 authors, list the names of the first 7 authors in your Bibliography entry followed by the phrase "et al."
- Example: Mars, William, Miranda Hershey, Gustav Lindt, and Natalia Nestlé. Sugar High: Candy in Politics .
- Example: Mars, William, Miranda Hershey, Gustav Lindt, and Natalia Nestlé. Sugar High: Candy in Politics . Boston: Harvard University Press, 2020.
Chicago Bibliography Format
LastName, FirstName, FirstName LastName, FirstName LastName, and FirstName LastName. Title of Book in Title Case . Place: Publisher, Year.
- Example: William Mars et al., Sugar High: Candy in Politics , (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2020), 122.
- If you cite the same book more than once, you might be able to use a shortened footnote form for subsequent citations. Check with your instructor or supervisor to make sure they're okay with shortened footnotes. For the shortened format, simply omit the parenthetical with the publication information.
Chicago Footnote Format
FirstName LastName et al., Title of Book in Title Case , (Place: Publisher, Year), page #.
- Because "al." is an abbreviation, it is followed by a period. However, "et" is not an abbreviation and doesn't have a period after it.  X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- This article's citations are based on the format for a book. If you're citing an article or other type of work, your full citation format will be different. However, parenthetical in-text citations and the use of et al. would remain the same. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_books.html
- ↑ https://libanswers.snhu.edu/faq/102973
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
- ↑ https://nwtc.libguides.com/c.php?g=29261&p=7026224
- ↑ https://guides.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/c.php?g=27779&p=170362
- ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_author_authors.html
- ↑ https://library.ulethbridge.ca/chicagostyle/books/multiple
- ↑ https://libguides.tru.ca/chicago/books-4plusauthors
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Author Names in MLA | Citing One or Multiple Authors
Published on March 27, 2019 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 14, 2022 by Shona McCombes.
In MLA style , up to two authors are included in a citation. For sources with more than two authors, the citation is shortened with “ et al. ”
In the Works Cited list , the first author’s name is inverted (surname followed by first name). In an MLA in-text citation , only surnames are included.
The author element specifies the main creator of the source. For audiovisual sources, this may be the director, composer, or painter, for example. The author may also be an organization.
Table of contents
Sources with multiple authors, sources with corporate authors, sources with no author, citing contributors other than authors, double surnames, hyphens, titles, and suffixes, pseudonyms and simplified names, foreign-language names, frequently asked questions about authors in mla.
For each source, list the authors in the order they appear in the source itself ( not in alphabetical order).
Multiple authors in the Works Cited
The first author’s name is always inverted. The last name comes first, followed by a comma, then the first name (and any middle initials, if relevant).
When there are two authors , the second author’s name is not inverted:
When there are three or more authors , only list the first author, followed by a comma and “et al.”:
Multiple authors in in-text citations
In an MLA in-text citation, you may name the author either in parentheses or in the main text.
When there are two authors , simply cite both surnames, separated by “and”.
When there are three or more authors , cite the first author’s surname followed by “et al.” if the citation appears in parentheses. If you cite in the main text, instead of “et al.”, write “and colleagues” or “and others”.
Sometimes sources are created by corporate authors, such as institutions, government agencies, and other organizations, with no individual authors credited. In this case, simply cite the name of the organization in place of the author name.
When citing corporate authors, omit articles (the/a/an) at the start of organization names.
In this example, the publisher is separate from the organization. Sometimes, an organization is both the author and the publisher. In this situation, do not list the organization as author. Instead, start the citation with the source title , and list the organization as the publisher only.
Publications from government agencies
If you are citing a publication from a government agency, start with the name of the government and follow with the name of the agency. Always arrange the entities from largest to smallest.
Note that in the in-text citation, you should abbreviate names longer than four words.
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If a source does not specify any author, begin the reference with the title of the work . In the in-text citation, if the title is longer than four words, abbreviate it to the first noun phrase, and ensure that the first word matches the first word of the Works Cited entry.
Some sources are created by many different people. If your discussion of the source focuses on the contribution of someone other than the main author (e.g. when analyzing an actor’s performance or comparing translations of a text), you may cite them in the author position with a label specifying their role (e.g. performer or translator). Don’t include this label in the in-text citation.
Citing the editor of a collection
Usually, when citing an edited collection, you should cite the author of the specific chapter or work . However, if you want to cite an entire collection or anthology, cite the editor(s) in the author position, followed by a label specifying their role. Don’t include the label in the in-text citation.
If an author has more than one surname, include all of them in the surname position. For example, Federico Garcia Lorca would be listed in the works cited as Garcia Lorca, Federico , and in an in-text citation as ( Garcia Lorca ).
If there is a hyphen in the author’s name, keep the hyphen exactly as it appears in the source.
Do not include titles, affiliations, and degrees in source citations. For example, Sir Walter Scott would be listed as Scott, Walter .
If an author has a name with an essential suffix (one that distinguishes them from identically named members of the same family, such as “Jr.” or a roman numeral), include this at the end of the name. For example, John D. Rockefeller IV would be listed as Rockefeller, John D., IV .
When writing in MLA, it is acceptable to use pseudonyms and simplified names of famous authors. It’s usually best to list all of an author’s works under one consistent name, even if different names appear in the sources themselves.
Commonly accepted pseudonyms and simplified names include:
- Dante Alighieri → Dante
- Mary Ann Evans → George Eliot
- Samuel Clemens → Mark Twain
Names from languages that do not use the Latin alphabet, such as Chinese or Russian, may vary in spelling. If this is the case, find the most authoritative variant (i.e. the variant favored by an authoritative source, such as an academic or government publication) and apply that throughout your Works Cited list and in-text citations.
In Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, the author name will often appear with the surname first, followed by the first name. In this case, do not include a comma between the surname and first name when creating the source reference, as the name is already inverted.
The various articles in French have different rules, which can even depend on the number of syllables in the name.
* English-language context means when the author writes in English but happens to have a French name.
For German names, von is usually considered part of the first name. However, in an English-language context, the von stays with the surname. For example, Von Trapp, Maria .
For Italian names, da , de , del , della , di and d’ are capitalized and treated as part of the surname. For example, Di Costanzo, Angelo .
For Spanish names, de is not treated as part of the surname. For example, Rueda, Lope de . However, del stays with the surname and is always capitalized. For example, Del Rio, Angel .
You may come across some Spanish authors with more than one surname. Often these authors are commonly known by one part of their surname, but you must include the entire last name—and alphabetize according to that—in your Works Cited list. For example, Garcia Lorca, Federico (commonly known as Lorca).
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
A standard MLA Works Cited entry is structured as follows:
Only include information that is available for and relevant to your source.
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In APA 7, when citing a work with three or more authors, include the first author’s surname followed by “et al.” "Et al." is Latin for "and others." Do this every time you cite the source, including the first instance. For example, a parenthetical citation for a work by three authors (Rasmussen, Hopkins, and Fitzpatrick) with a publication date of 2004 would look like this:
In research-based development planning, decision-making is based on careful, systematic examination of goals, data, and results (Rasmussen et al., 2004).
A narrative citation would look like this:
Rasmussen et al. (2004) emphasized the vital role research plays in development planning, saying that thoughtful examination of data and evidence should be present.
Remember that there will not be a comma between the surname and “et al.,” and the period goes only after the “al.” The English translation of “et al.” is simply “and others.”
When citing a work by two authors, always include both authors’ names. Do not use “et al.”
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APA Citation Style Guide (6th Ed.): 6 or More Authors
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Et al. in General Articles with one or two authors contain all authors' names in every in-text citation; articles with three, four, or five authors include all authors' names in the first in-text citation but are truncated to the first author's name plus et al. in subsequent citations .
Et al. is used when there are several authors and they all need to be acknowledged. This means that their contributions will be recognized even if some of them are very small. For example, an article on the effects of a drug might report findings from studies conducted by different researchers. The study results would be reported together with information about each researcher's role in conducting the study. This would be done using the term "et al."
When citing references, it is necessary to provide the full name of the author or authors. If your reference list contains only first names, then et al. should be used instead.
Et al. is often misused by writers who want to have their work attributed to many people even if they only contributed a little bit. This is not correct usage of this term and it makes readers think that these authors did not trust their work enough to give it a title that describes its content accurately.
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When can you use et al in an in-text citation, how should we write an in-text citation if we have six authors, how do you pronounce et al, how many authors use the apa 7th edition, how do you do et al in harvard, how many authors before you use et al, should you use the authors' last names in the citation if the authors' names appear in the text.
To abbreviate in-text citations containing three or more authors , use the acronym "et al." (meaning "and others"). This is how it works: For example, include simply the first author's surname, followed by "et al.", a comma, then the year of publication (Taylor et al., 2018).
You may use "et al." from the first mention if there are at least six writers. In all circumstances, use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in your in-text citation.
1. When mentioning a book with three, four, or five authors , writers may use the surname of the first author followed by et al. Only when there are six or more authors in a book should the initial in-text citation include the first author followed by et al. This is because the et al. abbreviation is used to indicate that which follows is as good as, if not better than, what was cited earlier.
2. An et al. list is used at the beginning of a chapter or section to indicate those things that follow are as good as, or better than, what was cited previously. For example, if discussing methods for measuring income inequality , one might cite DeNavas-Walt and Preston (2011) and then include an et al. list including other studies that have examined this question.
3. Et al. is used in footnotes and bibliographies to indicate that which follows is as good as, or better than, what was cited earlier. For example, if citing two studies on the subject of poverty rates in different countries, one could write "See also Hoppe (2002) and Sacks (2000)."
4. Et cetera indicates that which follows is similar to but not exactly the same as what was cited earlier.
The number of authors included in in-text citations In every citation for a work by one or two authors, provide the author(s) name(s). If a book has three or more authors, add just the first author's name plus "et al." in all citations, including the first, unless doing so would cause ambiguity. For example, if a book had authors A, B, and C, then citations for articles written by only one author would be given as A.kolodny, M. (1999). How to cite a book with multiple authors.
For books with three or more authors, provide the first author's last name followed by et al. This is the standard form of citation for works other than single articles. For example, if a book had authors A, B, and C, then citations for articles written by only one author would be given as Kolodny A.kolodny M. How to cite a book with multiple authors .
Books that have more than three authors should always be cited with an alphabetical list of authors and their surnames, separated by commas. Thus, an article citing this book would be referred to as Kolodny et al. (2009), because there are four authors in total. However to avoid confusion in cases where not all authors have been cited, it is acceptable to omit the last name for authors who have previously been cited.
If a source includes three or more authors , the name of the first author should be mentioned in the citation, followed by the phrase "et al." Citations for example: It was stressed that text citations should be consistent (Jones et al., 2011). They reported that paper citations should be referenced using the full author list (Smith and Tinker, 2010).
If the source is a book, the author names are usually placed at the end of the citation. For example, Smith, Jones, and Robinson would be cited as Smith et al., 2011. If the source is an article, the author names are usually placed after the year published, with the exception of articles that have multiple authors, such as collaborative works like books or journal articles. For example, Jones et al., 2001, would be cited as Jones et al.
In general, it is acceptable to use abbreviations for authors' names if they are commonly used abbreviations such as Dr. , Prof. , or Hon. However, if the source contains many authors with varying degrees of authority, it may be appropriate to use full names instead (e.g., Albus, Pumnus, and Flos).
For editors, publishers, and others who do not hold a degree, the title and first word of the work are used as the prefix for the citation.
When citing sources with three to five authors, name all of them the first time and use "et al." only after that. Use "et al." from the first citation for sources with six or more authors . These sources are also called "multiauthor" sources.
If the authors' names appear in the text, use their last names in the citation. When citing a text with more than three authors, you only use "et al." When quoting in the text, put the citation before the last quote mark . — All sources that have been cited, paraphrased, or summarized are included. These include books, magazines, newspapers, websites, and other collections of articles.
It is acceptable to use the first name plus last name for authors who use single names, such as Jane Smith. However, if possible, use their full names: John Doe and Jane Smith. This is especially important when the source is very famous or when they give many interviews or appearances on TV or in movies. Using their full name makes it easier for others to find them later.
For editors who edited multiple volumes of a series, list each volume with its own date. For example, if you edited four volumes in the series, list them as such: Vol. 1 January 1-December 31, 2013; Vol. 2 January 1-December 31, 2014; Vol. 3 January 1-December 31, 2015; and Vol. 4 January 1-December 31, 2016.
Bibliographies can be found at the end of most books or articles. They provide information about other books or articles that were used as sources. They can also include your own notes about the book or article you're reading.
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For a work with one or two authors, include the name (s) in every citation. Here is how this could look: (Dusek & Bakke, 2019) or According to Lai and Sookochoff (2018)… In APA 7, for a work with three or more authors, list the first author and "et al." for all citations, including the first citation, unless doing so would create ambiguity.
For sources with one, two, or three authors, list all author names in your in-text citations (whether footnotes or author-date). For sources with four or more authors, use the first name followed by "et al." In your Chicago style reference list or bibliography, list up to 10 authors.
If you're citing multiple works with similar groups of authors, and the shortened "et al" citation form of each source would be the same, you'll need to avoid ambiguity by writing out more names. If you cited works with these authors: Jones, Smith, Liu, Huang, and Kim (2020) Jones, Smith, Ruiz, Wang, and Stanton (2020)
The Latin term "et al." is short for "et alii" and means "and others." The abbreviation is used when citing a source with multiple authors. Its function is similar to that of "et cetera", another common Latin phrase that is usually abbreviated as "etc." and means "and other similar things." Using "et al." vs "etc." in Citation and References
"Et al." is used in APA in-text citations of sources with 3+ authors, e.g. (Smith et al., 2019). It is not used in APA reference entries. Use "et al." for 3+ authors in MLA in-text citations and Works Cited entries. Use "et al." for 4+ authors in a Chicago in-text citation, and for 10+ authors in a Chicago bibliography entry.
You only include the first author's name and "et al." For two authors: Always cite both authors' names in-text everytime you reference them. Here is how this would look for a source authored by Parker, Robin, and Williams published in 2018. (Parker et al., 2018) or Parker et al. (2018) claimed that…
APA format requires that you cite all of the authors at the first mention if there are three, four, or five, and use "et al." afterward. If there are at least six authors, then you may use "et al." from the first mention. In all cases, you should use the last name of the first author followed by "et al." in your in-text citation.
The phrase "et al." is used with in-text citations (including APA parenthetical citations) only when referencing a source that has three or more authors. Include the name of only the first author's last name plus "et al." in every citation. In-text citation structure: Text (1st Author et al., Year Published ) OR
APA in-text citations with multiple authors If a work has two authors, separate their names with an ampersand (&) in a parenthetical citation or "and" in a narrative citation. If there are three or more authors, only include the first author's last name followed by "et al.", meaning "and others".
Citing authors with same last names Sometimes more information is necessary to identify the source from which a quotation is taken. For instance, if two or more authors have the same last name, provide both authors' first initials (or even the authors' full name if different authors share initials) in your citation. For example:
In subsequent citations, only use the first author's last name followed by "et al." in the signal phrase or in parentheses. (Kernis et al., 1993) In et al., et should not be followed by a period. Six or More Authors: Use the first author's name followed by et al. in the signal phrase or in parentheses. Harris et al. (2001) argued...
" Et al. " is a Latin term and the short form of " et alia ", which literally means "and others". It is used in academic citations for sources that have multiple authors. The " al " in " et al. " is always followed by a full stop. Other punctuation marks, such as a comma, can follow the full stop after " al ".
Citing a journal article in MLA is a common instance where you may need to use et al., as journal articles often have three or more authors. When to use et al. You can use et al. in both your MLA in-text citations and the Works Cited page. When using et al., you should always use the name of the writer listed first in the source material.
The abbreviation " et al. " (meaning "and others") is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors. Here's how it works: Only include the first author's last name, followed by "et al.", a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).
Et Al. in APA In-Text Citations with Multiple Authors When citing three or more authors in text with APA (seventh edition), you can use et al. upon the first and subsequent references to a source. Before the seventh edition of APA, the names of up to five authors had to be spelled out in the text.
If you're citing a book that has three or more authors, only the first author's name is included in your Works Cited entry, followed by the phrase "et al." Type the author's last name first, followed by a comma. Then type the author's first name. Place a comma after the first name, then add the phrase "et al."  Example: Pine, Marshall, et al. 2
3+ authors in an MLA Works Cited entry Armstrong, Anne K., et al. Communicating Climate Change: A Guide for Educators. Cornell UP, 2018. Multiple authors in in-text citations. In an MLA in-text citation, you may name the author either in parentheses or in the main text. When there are two authors, simply cite both surnames, separated by "and".
Using et al. In APA 7, when citing a work with three or more authors, include the first author's surname followed by "et al." "Et al." is Latin for "and others." Do this every time you cite the source, including the first instance. For example, a parenthetical citation for a work by three authors (Rasmussen, Hopkins, and Fitzpatrick) with ...
This guide contains examples of common citation formats in APA (American Psychological Association) Style. Overview; In-text Citation; References; Citing Articles Toggle Dropdown. One Author ; Two Authors ; ... (Author Surname et al., Year) In-Text Citation (Quotation): (Author Surname et al., Year, page number) References: Author Surname ...
1. When mentioning a book with three, four, or five authors, writers may use the surname of the first author followed by et al. Only when there are six or more authors in a book should the initial in-text citation include the first author followed by et al. This is because the et al. abbreviation is used to indicate that which follows is as ...