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3 min readOct 18, 2020


How to Use ‘‘et al.’’ in the 7th Edition of the APA Manual

APA introduced the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual in October 2019, which replaces the 6th edition of the manual published in 2009. Since then, several things have changed. Here are some notable changes:

· In-text citations are shortened.

· Publisher’s location is no longer included in the reference when you cite from a print book.

· DOIs are formatted the same as URLs.

· Up to 20 authors in the reference list format was updated.

· URLs are no longer preceded by “Retrieved from,” unless a retrieval date is needed.

The use of ‘‘et al.’’ is one of them. Different citation styles has different rules for when to use ‘’et al.’’. This article discussed the rule for APA style. This rule has changed from APA 6th edition guidelines on using “et al.,” which recommend listing all author names in the first citation up to five authors but then using “et al.” for the second and subsequent citations.

According to the 7th edition of the APA Manual, the in-intext citation for studies with three or more authors is now abbreviated right from the first citation. You only include the first author’s name and “et al.”

· (Lawrence, Wan, & Williams, 2018) (Incorrect)

· (Lawrence et al., 2018) (Correct)

Remember that there is no comma between the last name and ‘‘et al.,’’ but a comma should be placed before the date in parentheses citation. Also, the period goes only after the ‘‘al.’’ even when it falls in the middle of a sentence.

The Correct Use of ‘‘et al.’’ in the 7th Edition of the APA Manual

Authors make several mistakes when using “et al.” in academic writings. The “al” in “et al.” is always followed by a period because the period shows that it is the abbreviated form of the term ‘‘et alia.’’

The following forms of the abbreviation are not correct: ‘‘et al’’, ‘‘et. al’’, ‘‘et. al.’’ The proper use of the abbreviation is ‘‘et al.’’

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