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:
- You MUST list all the authors in your bibliography reference
- 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.