I want to use the possessive noun form with et al. as in

et al.'s versus et al.

  • 3
    If you want answers to this question, you are going to have to rephrase it so that it makes sense in English. As it is now, it is utterly incomprehensible. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 1 '13 at 1:49
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    You can say "the paper of Einstein et al." You can say "Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen's paper". Even though "Einstein et al.'s paper" is the grammatically proper form, I don't think you should use it as it looks informal and rather strange to me. – Peter Shor Aug 1 '13 at 2:21
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    You'd say either A et al.'s or A et aliarum/aliorum. – jlovegren Aug 1 '13 at 2:43
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    In most contexts, the expression should eminently serve the purpose, without the need for the possessive. "The FirstAuthor et al. research preceded the publication of the LaterAuthor et al. papers. – Kris Aug 1 '13 at 10:34
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    @DanielW: what's wrong with "we are combining the approach of Bergh et al. with ..."? I don't see why you would ever need to use Bergh et al.'s rather than of Bergh et al. – Peter Shor Apr 10 '18 at 12:24

The grammatically correct way is "Einstein et al.'s paper", because to indicate possession by a noun phrase in English, the 's should be applied to the end of the phrase. However, I don't believe this specific construction is used much, as to me that looks somewhat unusual and feels informal. I'd recommend using a different wording like "the paper of Einstein et al." or "Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen's paper".

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    Super late to the party here, but I though I should add that I can't find any mention of the "et al.'s" form in any style guide I have access to (checked about 6), which to me say it's so nonstandard none of them felt it worth bothering to mention. – Cary C Sep 4 '15 at 19:51
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    Hyper late... but Google Scholar finds over 3 million documents containing the phrase "et al.'s" so it is certainly used in practice. Some of them are even in the titles of much-cited papers from various fields. So... even though our collective gut tells us that it might be unusual and colloquial it seems to be quite common. :) – stefanct May 24 '18 at 11:54

protected by tchrist Oct 4 '15 at 22:25

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