I'm using the standard plain style for my bibliography. My document is written in Dutch, so I'm using the babel package, but the and separator before the last author isn't translated to the Dutch alternative en.


After reading this answer, I know how to create a custom style myplain, where and is changed to en, but I was wondering whether it is truly necessary to create a new style for this.

Aren't babel and some other trick sufficient? If not, does one have to create a new style for every language (e.g. in French, and is et)?

  • 1
    'No': the plain style has and as a literal hard-coded.
    – Joseph Wright
    Apr 23, 2016 at 18:07
  • use a Harvard compatible style. Then you can redefine \harvardand
    – user2478
    Apr 23, 2016 at 18:27
  • @Herbert - The bibliography styles provided by the harvard package are meant to generate authoryear-style citation call-outs. We don't know, though, if the OP wishes to generate numeric-style citation call-outs.
    – Mico
    Apr 23, 2016 at 18:53
  • 1
    @Mico: Yes, I need numeric-style citation call-outs... :)
    – Jeroen
    Apr 23, 2016 at 19:05
  • 1
    This would be automatic with biblatex.
    – Bernard
    Apr 23, 2016 at 19:26

2 Answers 2


You can use babelbib:

  author={A. Uthor and W. Riter},
  editor={E. Ditor},



\cite{ur}, \cite{x}


enter image description here


If you wish to modify the plain bibliography style file, I would actually recommend that you modify the plainnat style instead, for two reasons. First, compared with the plain style, plainnat is about 20 years younger and thus knows what to do with fields such as url, doi, eid, isbn, and issn. Second, when used with the natbib citation management package, it's trivially easy with plainnat to switch back and forth between numeric-style and authoryear-style citation call-outs, should the need to do so ever arise; in contrast, plain can only generate numeric-style citation call-outs.

Here's what you could do:

  • Locate the file plainnat.bst in your TeX distribution. (If you have TeXLive 2015, you may find it at /usr/local/texlive/2015/texmf-dist/bibtex/bst/natbib/plainnat.bst.)

  • Make a copy of the file, calling the copy, say, plainnat-nl.bst. Don't edit a file from the TeX distribution directly.

  • Open plainnat-nl.bst in your favorite text editor -- the editor you use for your tex files will do fine -- and replace all three instances of " and " with " en ". (In my copy of the file, these instances occur on lines 232, 325, and 1111.)

  • Save the file plainnat-nl.bst either in the directory that contains your main tex file or in a directory that's searched by BibTeX. If you choose the latter option, be sure to update the filename database of your TeX distribution suitably. (If you use TeXLive, try running sudo texhash.)

  • Change the argument of \bibliographystyle to plainnat-nl, load the natbib package with the options square and numbers, and rerun LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more to fully propagate all changes.

Happy BibTeXing!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .