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I've checked out a similar question, but to the best of my knowledge, it only tells me that "Name et al." is used as a singular subject since it refers to the authors, but what if the “et al..” part is followed by the citation of their article? I found the following sentence in a journal paper:

Gomes et al. [7] also outline a greedy method for finding feasible solutions...

So how should I use something like "et al. [1]" in the end? I'm really confused now.

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  • I think you misunderstood the answer to the question that you cite.
    – Damila
    Mar 26, 2019 at 4:48

1 Answer 1

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Et alii means "and others", so it would make sense to treat Gomes and others as plural. Note that et al. is not used for et alius ("and another"), since Gomes et alius is barely or not at all shorter than Gomes and Samuel: it is only used when there are three or more authors in total.

On the other hand, Gomes et al. can stand metonymically for the text by Gomes et al., which would be singular; so a case can be made for treating it as singular.

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  • So both singular and plural usages can be valid depending on context?
    – Mengfan Ma
    Mar 26, 2019 at 5:06
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    @Mark Singular usage would be rare. It would be for the case where you have a plural subject being treated as a singular, like "Strunk and White says you shouldn't do that", where "Strunk and White" refers to the textbook by that pair of authors rather than to the authors themselves.
    – tchrist
    Mar 26, 2019 at 13:51

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