Feb 4, 2011 ... Writers sometimes use the surname of the first author followed by et al. at the first mention of a work that has three, four, or five authors. Only when a work has six or more authors should the first in-text citation consist of the first author followed by et al. With five or fewer authors, all the author surnames ...
Keep using etc. instead of et al.? Check out Ginger's spelling book and make sure you never confuse etc. and et al. again!