When referring to so and so et al. in an essay - how can I make the reference plural? I want to say so and so et al.'s argument. But that doesn't look right.

Expert Answers
mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The abbreviation et al in an essay actually means et alii or "with others". If you use this abbreviation in your paper, it already is plural. These standard abbreviations should not be used in the text of your essay but only in the footnotes or bibliography.  If you find it imperative to use it in the text of your essay, rephrase what you are saying to eliminate the problem.  Abbreviations can be useful in a paper when appropriate, but they should be used only when they are needed.  Good luck with your paper.

amber925 | Student

If you are using APA style, et al. is required when citing a work by three to five authors for the second time, and always used for works with more than six authors.

You can use a sentence that goes something like any of these:

 Author 1 et al. (year) argued...

The argument by Author 1 et al. (year) was/is...

Author 1 et al. (year) concluded...

So it would look like: Smith et al. (2012) noted that men preferred dogs over cats.