When a work by three or more authors is mentioned in the text of a research paper (rather than in a parenthetical citation), should the names of all the authors be included or only the first one, followed by et al.?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.

Reserve the use of the abbreviation et al. for the list of works cited and parenthetical citations. In the text, spell out the authors’ names or, if you are referring to a work by several authors, state the name of the first-listed author, followed by “and others.” For more on the use of names, see 1.1.1 of the MLA Handbook.