I am trying to get citations and references of following type using natbib package and Harvard style referencing using \bibliographystyle{agsm}.

  1. For Single Author: To cite as (James, 2011) I am using \citep{james}

  2. For two authors: To get output (Jones and Baker, 2011) I am using \citep{jones}

I am getting them correctly only if I use \usepackage[comma]{natbib}, but if I use [comma] option for natbib I am getting additional comma in references where more than two authors are there as follows after et al.: (Duzdevich et al., 2014) which I don't want. I want citation text only as (Duzdevich et al. 2014). Also, I am getting this issue when I am trying to cite more than two author texts at a place. I am getting cited as follows (Duzdevich et al., 2014, Thiruganam et al., 2010) whereas I want it like this (Duzdevich et al. 2014, Thiruganam et al. 2010)

Similarly, I am trying to produce citation like this (Smith, 2013; 2005; 2001) if the papers are authored by same authors in different years but by using \citep{three bib entries separated by comma}, I am getting output (Smith, 2013, 2005, 2001). If I use semicolon in \usepackage[semicolon]{natbib} I am getting everywhere semicolon instead of comma.

How to get these things? Any work around? I am struck because if I use comma, I am not getting semicolon and the other way also. Please help.

  • 2
    Using a comma after names and not one after "et al." looks quite inconsistent. Then dot in "et al." is an abbreviation dot, it is not a sentence-ending full stop. I doubt it is easy to change that in natbib, it might be possible with biblatex, but even there it would require trickery.
    – moewe
    Mar 30, 2018 at 9:55
  • 1
    Could you add a minimal working example with bibliography (MWEB) to play with, please?
    – egreg
    Mar 30, 2018 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


Some comments and observations:

  • As @moewe has already pointed out in a comment, the period (aka "full stop") in the string "et al." is not a sentence-ending period. Instead, it denotes an abbreviation (of "et alii", usually). If you want to suppress the comma between "Duzdevich et al." and "2014", for the sake of notational consistency you should also want to suppress the commas between "James" and "2011" and between "Jones and Baker" and "2011". This may be accomplished by setting the package option aysep={}.

    Observe that if you had loaded the harvard citation management package instead of the natbib package (after all, the agsm bib style is part of a package called "harvard"), you wouldn't be getting any commas between "James" and "2011", "Jones and Baker" and "2011, or "Duzdevich et al." and "2014". The message is simple: Either use commas either nowhere or everywhere between the author block and the year block. Don't make the use of commas in this context depend on whether the string "et al." is part of the author block.

  • If you want the separator character between consecutive years to be ; rather than ,, simply set the option yysep={;}.

  • The option comma is chosen by default; it shouldn't be necessary to set it explicitly.

  • For \citep with multiple arguments, I believe it's a really good idea to keep the default separator between the arguments, which is ;. If, however, you simply must have , as this type of separator, I suggest using two separate \citealt directives, as is done in the following example.

enter image description here

@misc{jones,author="Jones and Baker",year=2011}
@misc{dude,author="Duzdevich and E and F",year=2014}
@misc{thiru,author="Thiruganam and U and V",year=2010}


\obeylines % just for this example
(\citealt{dude}, \citealt{thiru})
  • In addition to above, how to get citations of the type (Smith, 2013a; 2013b), i.e., for Sources Written in the same year by the same authors? May 22, 2018 at 4:11

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