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Definition Of Et Al: What Does Et Al Take The Place Of? When Should Et Al Be Used

Referencing Styles : Harvard | Pages : 1

Definition of Et Al 

  • Et al is the short form for Latin phrase et alia, which indicates ‘and others’. Et alia is the neuter plural. Et al is also used as an abbreviation for et alii, which is the masculine plural and et alaie, which is considered to be the feminine plural. According to the common perceptions, et al indicates the other contributors like that of the authors, editors among others. According to the rules and regulations, there needs to be a period after et al. for expressing that it is an abbreviation. The usage of et al is under much debate and confusion. Typical usage indicates two or more names, preceded by a comma. This is in case where the name of only one person is listed.
  • Punctuation is one of the aspects, which maintains clarity in the use of et al. However, confusion still persists in the Latin usage. This is because of the three ways in which it can be written depending on the references to either masculine, feminine or neuter.
  • One of the other confusions related to the use of et al is its appropriateness. According to some of the language critics, et al should be used only for reference to the people. However, et al is also used for describing other things also.
  • Most commonly the use of et al is found in the scholarly write ups for averting the reference to a number of authors in bibliography or footnote. According to the Latin observations found in the English have attained commonality in the speeches. Typical example of this lies in i.e, which stands for that is. The rest of the Latin expressions are used in the speeches, however, it seems out of place. Reference can also be cited of ibid, which is used for referring to ‘in the same place’.

What does 'et al' take the place of?

Et al. is used in a sentence in place of ‘and’ or ‘between the authors’. Here, using parenthesis is the symbol for using et al. From the second instances, only the authors’ initials are used along with et al. As a matter of specification, et al is a substitution for the inclusions within a sentence. In the dictionary, the words, which appear closer to et al are etagere, e-tail, etain blue, et alia, etalon, eta meson and others. The alternative forms of et al is & al. Distinctions in the use of et al is sometimes ignored in the casual cases. The abbreviations are synonymously used in accordance to the context in which it is used.

  • Period after et al

Al is considered to the short form for alia and consists of various forms of expression in the process of writing styles. The period indicates its usage as an abbreviation. According to the Latin meaning, et al signifies ‘and’, which nullifies the need for period. In spite of the Latin origin, there is no need for italics. If the example of blogs are considered, then et al is used as follows in the APA style in case of the blogs:

  • Et al is not to be used until and unless there is more than two authors
  • For citing the sources consisting of three to five authors, all of the authors are to be listed in the first citation. If the same source is used more than once, then the expression stands like: name of the first author and et al.
  • In case of the references with 6 authors, the in-text citations are like name of the first author and et al

When should et al be used in MLA style? 

If a source has more than three authors, only the first authors’ last name is given and the rest is expressed as et al in the process of in-texting. This is also followed in the presentation of the reference list in the MLA style. For example, when electronic sources are to be used, et al is used after the end of the sentence for indicating the works presented by the authors.
4. Do you use et al in reference list? 

No, I do not use et al in the reference list. Instead, I use et al while making in-text citations for indicating my acknowledgement for the sources referred. However, I ensure the fact that all of the authors are referred, whose works I am using in my research project.

  • Difference between et al and etc

Etc refers to the list of things and et al refers to the list of authors. Etc is used in both formal and informal writing. On the contrary, et al is mostly seen in the bibliography of the projects. Etc is the abbreviation for et cetera, which means ‘and the rest’. It is used when reference is being made to a number of things. For examples, I will buy vegetable, fruits, chocolate, pastries etc from the supermarket while returning home.

  • Other examples of et al.

When a group of students are assigned a project, they use et al for producing their academic writing. This usage is expressed at two places, one in the in-text citations and in the reference list or works cited.

  • Et alibi- It is considered to be one of the other forms of et al. It is less frequently used in the speeches. Alibi refers to the evidence, which helps in detecting the culprit. Therefore, et alibi means ‘elsewhere’, which do not appear in the list. Mention can be made of William Trollope, who used et alibi to indicate that Greek phrases occur not only in the chapters of Mark but also in the Bible.
  • Personal uses- When narrating about the experiences, students can use et al for referring to the places they visited, foods, which they had and the hotels in which they stayed by using et al.
  • Rules for writing et al

    • Et al needs to be used with all of the in-text citations. This is to make the references shorter and easier to absorb. Along with the authors, et al can also be used for referring to the characters of a novel or a book.
    • After the last dissimilar author, et al can also be used. In case of the sources having different authors, the rule of et al is different. Where there are more than three authors, Oxford comma is used. This comma needs to be determined whether to use a comma before et al. There are some confusion regarding this usage of comma. The number of authors need to be differentiated by et al.
    • If there are less than three authors, et al. is not to be used.
    • Subsequent citations are expressed by et al for referring to the other authors.
    • Et al can be used formally for incorporating the citations within the emails. However, et al cannot be used in the everyday speech.
    • Et al. cannot be used with the salutations.
    • In case of the formal signature, et al cannot be used, as it refers to a group of people.
    • Et al. would not be followed by a first person pronoun, as it signifies several group of people at one point of time.
    • Sometimes, a comma can be used before et al, but it is not necessary. However, insertion of period before et al is a must. This is irrespective of whether the sentence is ending or not.
    • Ellipses need to be used for indicating that the quotation does not completely reproduce the original expression.


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