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Someone told me that in APA style you treat parenthetical versus non-parenthetical in-text references separately when applying et al.

For example, let's say you're citing Smith, Jones, and Roberts (2012).

You would write

Smith, Jones, and Roberts (2012) write that bla bla bla bla. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla (Smith, Jones & Roberts, 2012).

That is, because in the second line it is the first time you mention the authors parenthetically, you have to restate the authors' names....

I always thought you treat parenthetical and non-parenthetical citations the same. So it would be the following:

Smith, Jones, and Roberts (2012) write that bla bla bla bla. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla (Smith et al., 2012).


Can anyone confirm or clarify this for me?

The reference they gave for this rule is table 6.1 on page 177 of the APA Manual, 6th edition. They interpreted the column titled "First citation in-text" and "Parenthetical Format, first citation in text) as indicating that those two formats should be treated separately. However, this doesn't make sense to me and I think that APA would have made this more explicit if it had intended this interpretation.

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I think that the form

Smith, Jones, and Roberts (2012) write that bla bla bla bla. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla (Smith, Jones & Roberts, 2012).

does not follow the recommended APA style. That is, I think the correct way to write it is

Smith, Jones, and Roberts (2012) write that bla bla bla bla. Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla (Smith et al., 2012).

where the first citation is the first citation "in text" and the second citation is the first citation of this work "in a parenthetical format."

Look at page 43 (figure 2.1) of the 6th edition of the APA manual. Lines 2 and 3 of page 6 of the sample paper has the first citation of "Hahn, Carlson, Singer, & Gronlund, 2006" in parenthetical form

(consistent with Hahn, Carlson, Singer, & Gronlund, 2006; Mather & Knight, 2006)

and on lines 17 and 18, a citation of the same work in text is given as Hahn, et al. (2006)

Similarly, Hahn et al. (2006) also found no age differences [...]

Now, it is not certain that the latter citation is the first citation in text of this work (because some text in the sample paper is obscured). But looking at other papers in journals that follow the APA format seems to confirm my answer.

For example, a paper in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education (vol. 43, no. 2, p. 133) (which explicitly states that manuscripts submitted to it "should conform to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.)") has a first citation in text

In their article in Mathematics Teacher, Cirillo, Drake, and Herbel-Eisenmann (2009) situated their work on curriculum vision as described below.

Then a block quotation from this work ends in the first citation in parenthetical form

(Cirillo et al., 2009, p. 71)

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I asked apastyle.org and received the following response from an Editorial Supervisor

Your interpretation is correct, and your interlocutor is wrong. Table 6.1 simply gives examples of citations in different circumstances. The rules of APA Style are stated pretty clearly in the APA Publication Manual; there is no need to deduce additional unstated rules. If something in a table or figure appears to contradict the text, follow the text.

Therefore my interpretation (and Joel Reyes Noche's interpretation) of et al. is correct.

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