Latin is still alive and well in the English language, contrary to what most people believe. Today’s examples are frequently used abbreviations taken directly from that language: et cetera (abbreviated etc. or &c., in older documents) and et alia (et al.). Both are Latin for “and others,” but they have different uses. “Etc.” is used to extend a list of things, whereas “et al.” continues a list of people. For example:
When writing, one should have plenty of supplies on hand, such as pens, paper, etc.
The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy contains articles written by Kory L. Meyerink, Loretto Dennis Szucs, et al.
Note that an acceptable interpretation of “et al.” is “among others.”
While these abbreviations are incidental, they are often confused. Knowing when to use which helps make one’s writing sharper and more easily understood.