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Citations: Latin Abbreviations

Latin and Other Common Abbreviations

“Et al.” is one of the more common Latin abbreviations used in scholarly writing and APA Style. There are several other Latin abbreviations that writers may want to use in their work. In APA Style, the definitions presented here need no explanation or definition in APA Style manuscripts: 

  • et al.: Latin for “and others,” this abbreviation is most used in citations with three or more authors: 

Dauvillers et al. (2018) conducted a study on rapid eye movement and sleep behavior disorder. 

  • etc.: Latin for “and so on” (et cetera), “etc.” is used to indicate that a list continues beyond the items mentioned: 

Grade-school teacher participants were first asked to indicate what grade they have experience teaching (Kindergarten, first, second, etc.). 

  • e.g.,: Latin for “for example” (exempli gratia), “e.g.” is found when listing examples in parentheses: 

Loewenstein (2018) demonstrated how elements of the family ecology (e.g., family cohesion, birth trauma, mental illness, etc.) can put parents in a place where they are at greater risk of destress. 

  • i.e.,: Latin for “that is” (id est) or also “specifically” or “in other words,” this abbreviation is used to provide specific clarification. It is different from “e.g.” (although often confused and incorrectly interchanged with) in that it is not intended to present examples, but to clarify. Its use should be specific to instances where the writer names a general area and then wants to provide some specific applications as an aside (in parentheses): 

The researcher asked focus group participants to sit in small groups according to years of service at the organization (i.e., less than a year, 1 to 5 years, and more than 5 years. 

  • cf. and “see”: These terms are used as comparative language/notes in parentheses. Latin for “compare,” cf. is used to provide opposing information or a contrasting comparison. Similarly, while not a Latin abbreviation, “see” or “see also” is also commonly used in a similar context to provide a similar comparison (“see also” opposite of the use of cf.) or supplemental information (“see) in the parentheses: 

Anderson (2021)’s preliminary study yielded statistically significant, positive results regarding burnout, dissimilar those of other researchers who did not include the same moderating variables (cf. Jackson et al., 1986; Neuman et al., 1990). Anderson expanded this literature, exploring new models of burnout (see also Maslack & Leiter, 2017). 

The “see” notation in the parentheses is also often used when writers refer to their own study or work and need to provide a source not for their study, but for the information they are referring to in the sentence: 

In this study, I implemented a comparative case study approach (see Bartlett & Vavrus, 2017; Yin, 2012). 

  • vs.: Another non-Latin abbreviation, “vs.” is used as an abbreviation for “versus.” This abbreviation is used to compare items meaning “against” or “in contrast”: 

The researcher asked individual participants to indicate their interest (low vs. high) in enrolling in a workplace wellness program. 

Note: when referring to legal materials, follow the convention of using v. (in italics) instead of vs. 

  • For additional information on using Latin and other abbreviations, refer to: