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I am using a .bst for the bibliography in my thesis; the .bst that I am using, I think, was Chicago style originally. I am also using the natbib package. Currently, when I use citation, "et al." appears normally in the text. What should I do to emphasize "et al."?

I am assuming that it is related to the functions of the names in .bst file which are: FUNCTION {format.names} or FUNCTION {format.names.ed} or FUNCTION {format.full.names}, and therefore, I tried to put emphasize before "et al." or before "other" in these name's functions but none is working. I also went through the previous questions about the same issue here, nevertheless, I couldn't find an answer.

Please help.

share|improve this question
Which style (.bst file) are you using? – Gonzalo Medina Jul 20 '12 at 23:16
I think, originally, was Chicago style. – Mara Jul 20 '12 at 23:29
Hmm... hard to give exact advise if you are not sure about the precise style. You can try replacing the string " et~al." with "{\em et~al.}" in a local renamed copy of the .bst file. – Gonzalo Medina Jul 21 '12 at 0:10
I can confirm that my suggestion (reinforced by @Mico) works if you are really using chicago.bst. Can you please upload elsewhere (pastebin, for example)the actual .bst file you're working with? – Gonzalo Medina Jul 21 '12 at 1:42
I think it is important to mention that "et al." should not be italicized if you follow the Chicago style as the manual stipulates: Latin and italics: "et al." is not italicized or underlined (van Leunen, p. 27: "Write it without either underlining or italics."; Chicago Manual of Style 7.56: "Commonly used Latin words and abbreviations should not be italicized. ibid, et al., ca., passim." [and later, 6.44: "Note that 'e.g.' and 'i.e.' are not italicized."]). – ATN Mar 18 '13 at 16:19

The answer is: replace every single "et al." and "et~al." in the .bst file with

\emph{et al.}

Change the name of your .bst file. Run LaTeX and BibTeX.

share|improve this answer
I've corrected the substitution string: \em is not a command taking arguments. – egreg Jul 23 '12 at 6:50
dear egreg, but it was already working with the command \em. what is the difference? – Mara Jul 26 '12 at 1:33
You wrote {\em{et al.}}. 1. \em is not a command with arguments; 2. using \emph{text} is recommended over {\em text} because the former automatically adds the italic correction when necessary. – egreg Jul 26 '12 at 8:13
Surely \textit would be more correct than \emph? This is explicitly visual formatting, i.e. our desire is for this text to be in italics, rather than simply wanting it emphasised. – Simon W Feb 24 '15 at 16:08

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