question about in text references

when I put in a reference that has multiple authors, and the in text citation is (smith et al., 2008), endnote adds a , such as (smith, et al., 2008).  How do I take out the extra comma?   It is driving me crazy, I’m writing my disertation, and my committee is thinking I just don’t know APA.  If I try to take it out manually, it defaults back to replace the comma.  Is there a way to take it out, or something to fix this error? 

There may be a misplaced extra “Author Separators” comma designated for 1 to 2 authors when there shouldn’t be any comma.  The correction needs to be made to the APA output style template otherwise the changes won’t “stick” - as you’ve experienced when trying to manually remove the comma.

To check the Author Lists part of the APA output style:

1.  Go to the EndNote toolbar, select: EDIT, OUTPUT STYLES, EDIT APA [whatever version you’re using].  This will cause the APA output style dialog window to appear.

  1. In the APA style, locate “Citations” in the left column then click on “Author Lists”. (see attached image). Then see if the  “between” box for 1 to 2 authors is blank…  If it has a comma, delete the comma but don’t inadvertently add a blank space.

3.Close the APA style window.  The changes will be saved as a “copy” (e.g., APA 6th Copy) so you’ll need to adjust both EndNote and MS Word to use the APA 6th Copyy file.


I think that APA doesn’t have a comma before the et al, so you might want to download a new version via the endnote help menu, or make sure you are formating with APA.  Remember that the style selected in Endnote is not necessarily the style being used in the manuscript.   Checking on the style in use depends on what version of Word you are using. 

You cannot edit the field inserted by endnote, be it citation or bibliography (and why would you want to edit every ref in your thesis?). 

An updated version of the APA Style should resolve the issue you are experiencing. Keep in mind that some institutions are interpreting the rules set out in the APA 6th manual as requiring no comma in certain situations in-text either before or after “et al.” See the following Knowledge Base article for more information about this as well as instructions for updating your APA Style:

Jason Berman
Technical Sup Rep RS

Thomson Reuters

Phone: +1 800-336-4474

I followed the recommendation from the Thomson Reuters technical support to update my APA style. That seemed to solve my problem with having a comma appear before et al., when I have a single author preceding et al., (e.g., Seligman et al., 2005). However, when I have two authors preceding et al., (in the case where the same first author published two papers in a single year that are both being cited in my paper) I still end up with a comma after the second author(e.g., Lyubomirsky, Dickerhoof, et al.,  2011). Does anyone know how to eliminate the common after the second author that immediately precedes the et al.,? Thanks!