Academic Tips and Tricks

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A note on ‘et al.’

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Using et al. is a really good way to reference multi-authored books. It is Latin for ‘and others’ so a reference for this book:

Biber, D., Conrad, S. and Reppen, R. (1998) Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Could be referenced in text as (Biber et al.: 1998).

There are just two important things to remember:

  1. You MUST list all the authors in your bibliography reference
  2. You need to remember that if you’re writing about what the authors of a multi-authored book have said, remember you need to use plural verb forms. E.g. Biber et al. state that…, not Biber et al states. Biber et al. discuss, not Biber et al. discusses. This can be hard to remember, so try to say in your head whenever you use ‘et al.’ “and others” that way you’ll get the verbs right. You wouldn’t write Biber and others hypothesises – you’d write Biber and others hypothesise.
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Author: Liz

Hi, I'm Liz. I like easy crafts, photography, cooking, lifestyle blogs and YouTube videos. I work as a part-time proofreader and am currently studying for a PhD in linguistics.

3 thoughts on “A note on ‘et al.’

  1. “et al” -et- means and , -al- means allii . Alii is masculin plural and applies whenever there is at least one masculin reference. -et aliae- is feminine plural and applies whenever all the references are women.

  2. Pingback: Noun-Verb agreement when using paired dashes, commas and parentheses | Academic Tips and Tricks

  3. Pingback: Learn Your Latin | Academic Tips and Tricks

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