Inconsistent use of et al

I'm using an edited version of APA6 which lists up to five author names in the in-text citations before abbreviating to et al. However, in some citations it inserts et al even when there are only four authors, what could be the reason for this inconsistency?
  • APA style says to use et al for items with 3 or more authors after the first time an item is cited.
  • Well, it doesn't implement that. Sometimes five authors are listed, other times it cuts off and inserts et al when there are 3 authors or more. That's why it's inconsistent.
  • I don't think you understood what bwiernik is saying:
    APA in-text citations have two different rules for et al.
    1. The first time an item is cited, up to five authors are listed (i.e. et al. is only used for works with 6 or more authors)
    2. For any subsequent cite, et al. is used for any citation with 3 or more authors.

    Zotero's APA style does implement that exactly. If it doesn't work like that in a document, start by testing in a new document to see if the behavior is consistent there. If so, we can troubleshoot the main document.
  • It doesn't change after the first time the same work is cited, it lists 5 authors for some works every time it is cited and inserts et al for others every time they are cited, even if the different works have the same number of authors.

    I assume it couldn't be that if some work with 6 or more authors is cited, then any other work with 3 or more authors will be cited with et al after that.
  • So have you tried in a new document? It could be that something doesn't work in updating your current document or it could be you have data in Zotero incorrectly. This definitely works correctly in general.
  • Not sure I understand the description, but the number of authors preceding et al. might be extended by disambiguate-add-names="true".
  • ah yes, good call. If the first x authors of two citations are identical, APA style says (and Zotero implements) to lit the first x+1 authors for both works
  • Another possibility is that the user's library contains two records of the same article and each of the records is cited.
  • I'm having this exact issue, and it doesn't track with many of the suggestions in the thread.

    I didn't notice it until nearly the entire manuscript was finished, but [almost] any citation with more than 2 authors gets an et al. regardless of its position in the paper.

    I will look into fbennett's suggestion, but for now I've tried doing this in a new Word doc as well as trying it in a Google Doc.

    In examining Track Changes, I notice that all of the multi-author fields were recently reduced to et al., and I can't really explain it.

    This image gives you an idea how how it was changed. Any thoughts or suggestions?
  • edited January 4, 2020
    It appears that this is by design for APA 7th? I haven't read the publication for this yet, and I'm not sure when I'd ever do that, but if this was an intentional change it certainly looks awful for most 3+ author papers.

    (Reise, Bonifay, & Haviland, 2013; Reise, Moore, & Haviland (2010) gets changed to
    (Reise et al., 2013, 2010), which seems to imply the 'et al.s' are the same for both publications. I'm all for cutting down document size, but this seems like there might be some real perverse consequences.

    On the plus side for some here: (McAbee, Oswald, & Connelly, 2014; Wiernik, Wilmot, & Kostal, 2015) becomes (McAbee et al., 2014; Wiernik et al., 2015). ;)
  • This isn’t a change in APA 7. APA 6 also would shorten both of those to just “Reise et al.” on subsequent citations.
  • Yeah I was more commenting on these being the first instance of every citation.

    It's a bit of erasure that seems unpleasant.
Sign In or Register to comment.