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  • Category: Improve Your English

    Should there always be punctuation before and after the expression etc (et cetera)?

    The word etc is short for the experession et cetera & we use it to refer to additional things. I would like to know whether it is mandatory to have punctuation marks before and after it. That is, should there be a comma before it and a full stop (period) after it?

    Is it Ok for example to write like this:
    Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties etc at the discount sale.
    OR
    It must be written like this:
    Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties, etc. at the discount sale.
  • #578131
    It is mandatory to have the punctuation mark after etc. i.e. a full stop (period) should be placed after et cetera. But having a comma before et cetera is optional. The best practice is to have a comma before et cetera. Having a comma before will differentiate et cetera from other objects.

    The above mentioned sentence can be written in either of the below mentioned form

    Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties etc. at the discount sale.
    Or
    Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties, etc. at the discount sale.

    But the most appropriate sentence is "Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties, etc. at the discount sale".

    Explanation: Having a comma after ties differentiates et cetera from the other objects. If a comma is not added before et cetera people may get confused and may consider etc as an object. To differentiate etc from the series of object, a comma and full stop is used before and after etc.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • #578143
    1. Gradually a trend is emerging to use modern 'open punctuation' system in which periods are dispensed with like in the case of 'eg', 'ie', 'etc' etc. However in conventional writing system 'etc' is always followed by a period and written as 'etc.'
    2. Generally when there is more to be said after 'etc.', then a comma is put after 'etc.', otherwise not e.g. in the following case - 'Throughout the day, they were enganged in strenuous physical exercise like running, jumping, wightlifting etc. , and no woder they fell ill'.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #578200
    You have given two examles for punctuation.
    1.Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties etc at the discount sale.
    OR
    It must be written like this:
    2.Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties, etc. at the discount sale.
    No.2 is correct and should be written as Pradeep bought shoes, shirts, ties, etc. at the discount sale.

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