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April 22, 2024

et al — or et al.?


The comment above got my Crack Research Team©®™'s collective baggies in a twist, so much so that they had to be sedated in order to continue working.

Treatment was administered by my Crack Sedation Team®©®™ (heh) and off flew the drilldowners into the minutiae and arcana of proper usage.

Here's what they found:

This discussion finds no exceptions to using a period after "al"

Wikipedia (below) concurs:


At Dictionary.com "et al" appears without a period:


To be fair, it appears with the period as well at Dictionary.com:


and with five as opposed to two results, but the kicker is the final entry above.

The fact that "also et al" became an accepted rendering in 1883 is good enough for me.

Full disclosure: I wasn't sure whether et al, et. al., or et al. was correct when I used the term.

I didn't take the time to look it up because I decided that it 1) et al looked cleaner; 2) I always choose the simplest option if there is one; 3) I unilaterally decided there was an option because so much of proper language seems to be fading into the Strunk & White past.

Consider, for example, how the dash (—), which I was taught by Mrs. Toussaint and Miss Steiger in English class at Washington High School never stood alone but had to be repeated in the same sentence, now rides solo in the New York Times.

And how "not only", which I was taught never, ever appeared without "but also" in the following phrase, now oftimes appears without its former sidekick.

Bottom line: et al is the default usage from this point forward in bookofjoe.

April 22, 2024 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


You could always just say "and others".
Which I guess you could, if you really felt the urge, write as "an ot". (Or, of course, "an ot.").

Posted by: Flautist | Apr 26, 2024 4:00:01 PM

Me and my et al think that you et al should get over your als.

Posted by: Clif Marsiglio | Apr 22, 2024 4:38:49 PM

I don't see how you came to the conclusion, given the references cited, that it's acceptible to write without the period.

I followed along with your post and thought I understood every step of the way ... then your "bottom line" reached the opposite conclusion to all of the evidence presented.

Did you type that last line incorrectly, or was this entire effort simply a performative exercise done as an excuse to bring you to your predetermined conclusion?

I love the blog, by the way, and of course it doesn't affect me one way or another how you choose to write it. Cheers!

Posted by: g-bull | Apr 22, 2024 1:23:22 PM

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