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Homepage / Using ‘et al.’ in citations with APA7 style referencing

Using ‘et al.’ in citations with APA7 style referencing


Academic writing is full of idiosyncrasies, one of which being the Latin abbreviation ‘et al’. The term et al means ‘and others’ and is often used in academic literature to abbreviate a list of authors’ names. For this reason, using et al. in an in-text citation allows your references to be shorter. It also helps them appear tidier if you are referring to the same citation numerous times in your work.

Whether or not you can use et al. is determined by the number of authors in your citation. Where you have one or two authors, you will need to list all the authors in both your in-text citation and reference list.  However, when a source has three or more authors you can list the first author followed by et al. in your in-text citation. In your reference list however, you will need to list all of the authors (even if there are 20 or more of them!).

Here’s an example with two or fewer authors:

In-text citation:

Buttle and Maklan (2019) state that…

APA7 reference:

Buttle, F. and Maklan, S. (2019). Customer relationship management: Concepts and technologies (4th ed). Routledge.

… and with three or more authors:

In-text citation:

According to Bellucci et al. (2022), …

APA7 reference:

Bellucci, M., Bianchi, D.C., and Manetti, G. (2022). Blockchain in accounting practice and research: systematic literature review. Meditari Accountancy Research, 30 (7), 121-146.

Remember always to format your references with a hanging indent.

For more information on referencing, check out the APA7 Author-Date Referencing Guide.

As always, if you have any questions about referencing, please contact MIRC or the Kings Norton Library.

Public domain image by Pixabay, CC0

Karen Stokes

Written By: Karen Stokes

A Business Librarian since 2009, Karen leads support for the Cranfield MBA courses, both full-time and Executive.

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