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APA Formatting & Style: Latin Abbreviations et al.

Last updated 4/21/2016


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Audio: Guitar music.


Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in the center of the screen. Background changes to stacked MLA and APA manuals. “APA Formatting & Style. Latin Abbreviation et al.” text appears in center of screen.

Slide changes to one titled “Latin Abbreviations: Et al.”

Body of slide reads: …Except et al.

Below this text are three text boxes.

The first text box (beginning on far left of slide) reads: Used to make citations more concise:

Arrow symbol

Middle text box: Smith et al. (2014)…(Smith et al.,2014)

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Far right text box: 1-2 authors: Never [line break]  3-5 authors: 2nd and subsequent citations [line break] 6+ authors: Always

Below the text boxes on the far left is text that reads: Citation Variations Table

And on the far right is a text box that reads: See pages 175-177 in the APA 6th Edition

Audio: You would not spell out a Latin abbreviation in the main narrative text when you're using "et al". So " et al.” is a Latin abbreviation that we use to be more efficient if you're citing a work that has multiple authors. So, with, especially with, scientific and social scientific writing that may have lots of authors and studies that lots of people worked on and lots of people listed, it can get sort of tedious and interrupt the flow if you have to put, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 authors, every time you're adding in a citation for a particular source. But for that reason, in APA for  works for multiple authors, you would incorporate the abbreviation "et al" which means, "and everybody else." So to use "et al," you would abbreviate works with three or more authors. So if you have one author or two authors, you would just include every author each time. If you have three to five authors, you would include every author in the first citation. So the first time you cite that source, you would include everybody. Because it's only three to five. But after that, you would say, just the first author's name, followed by "et al" each time. So in the example you see in the middle here, "Smith et al." If the work has six or more authors, you can just use the first author's name followed by "et al" each time. And there's a table that breaks it down and shows you exactly how to do the first citation in the text and all subsequent citations in the text on page 177 of the APA manual.  


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