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Would it be proper grammar to use the Latin phrase in the following way?

The items inserted came from departments, employees et al. data.

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closed as general reference by Hugo, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, tchrist, FumbleFingers, Bill Franke Jan 10 '13 at 0:57

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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What research have you done? Have you looked up et al in a dictionary or encyclopaedia? What did it say? –  Hugo Jan 9 '13 at 21:54
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et al. means others as in people, so no. –  spiceyokooko Jan 9 '13 at 21:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, that's improper (and confusing).

The normal use of et al. is for a listing of names (as in "the paper was written by Fredricksen, Mayer, Wilson, et al."); for a listing of generic objects, et cetera (or etc.) is the standard choice.

Moreover, using either et al. or etc. mid-sentence is very disorienting, as it is normally reserved for a terminal position only. Most often it's used at the very end of a sentence because the list it's being applied to is also at the end of the sentence, but it needs at least to be at the end of the list. Your list is "departments data, employees data, other data"; the call for a parallel structure ("department, employee, and other data") is clear, but et al. and etc. replace "and others" (where others is a pronoun), not "and other" (where other is an adjective).

So, either don't use etc. or reduce the parallelism a bit:

The inserted items came from department, employee, and other data.

The inserted items came from department data, employee data, etc.

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