How to Use ‘et al.’

Using Latin abbreviations such as ‘et al.’ in your academic documents shouldn’t be a headache! Unfortunately, many students make mistakes when using Latin terms; this can lose you vital marks. Today, I will show you how to use ‘et al.’

When to Use ‘et al.’

The term ‘et al.’ is a Latin abbreviation that stands for ‘et alias’ meaning ‘and others’. It is used to shorten in-text references for works that have more than four authors. When you cite a work, you will use ‘et al.’ in brackets, along with the other information needed for the citation:

Scientists found that 90% of the Great Barrier Reef has now been destroyed (Walker et al., 2013, p.5).

The term ‘et al.’ always needs to have a full stop after the ‘al’ to show that it is an abbreviated word. Although usually Latin words are italicised in academic writing, ‘et al’ does not need to be as it is so common. This also holds for other commonly used Latin terms.

Reference List

You do not need to use ‘et al.’ in your reference list, or bibliography, as here all authors’ names should be included.


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