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“Etcetera”: Explanation, Examples, Spelling, Pronunciation, etc.

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This blog post will go over what “etcetera” means, how to spell it, and also how to pronounce it. But it’ll also go over what is the correct abbreviation and why there’s confusion surrounding it.

Etc or Ect: Do you know the correct abbreviation of etcetera?
Do you know what is the correct abbreviation of “etcetera”?
Is It “Etc. or “Ect.”?

  • The correct abbreviation of etcetera is etc.
    • The kids jumped rope, played on the swings, ran around, etc.

Before we go over the correct abbreviation of etcetera (and why a variation exists in the first place), let’s first go over its meaning, spelling, and pronunciation.

What Is the Meaning of “Etcetera”?

Et cetera is a Latin term that has been incorporated into the English language. It means “and so on.” It’s used when listing things and expresses that other unspecified, but similar things are included in the list.

There are two spellings: et cetera and etcetera (no space).

Et cetera is more common in Canadian English, but both spellings are acceptable.

Etcetera is used in both speech and writing. It’s often used when people don’t want to tediously list several things.

Here are a few examples of etcetera in a sentence:

We baked brownies, cookies, cupcakes, etcetera.
The meeting was about the annual budget, planned events, etcetera.
I dabble in various types of artistic expression like painting, dancing, singing, etcetera.

How To Pronounce “Etcetera”

Etcetera is pronounced /ˌet ˈsetərə/ which sounds like et-set-era.

However, there is another common pronunciation that Merriam-Webster Dictionary considers nonstandard, and it sounds like ex-set-era. As explained in their Words Matter podcast, the nonstandard label doesn’t mean it’s technically incorrect, it just means that it’s widely disapproved of.

This popular, albeit nonstandard, pronunciation is the reason why many people question whether the correct abbreviation of et cetera is etc. or ect.

“Etc”. or “Ect”.: Which is the Correct Abbreviation?

Make no mistake, though. The only correct abbreviation for etcetera is etc. Ect. is just a common error.

Here are some more examples of etc. in a sentence:

We reviewed the key components of writing: brainstorming, drafting, editing, etc.
The kids went on a field trip to the zoo and saw elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, etc.
My parents are bringing plates, napkins, utensils, etc. to the party.

How To Correctly Use “Etc.”

As shown in the examples above, etc. can be found in the middle or end of a sentence. Regardless of its placement, it always includes a period. However, if it’s at the end of a sentence, no additional period is required.

We brought juice, fruits, snacks, etc to the game.

We brought juice, fruits, snacks, etc. to the game.

Make sure to keep your valuables safe: birth certificate, ID, passport, etc..

Make sure to keep your valuables safe: birth certificate, ID, passport, etc.

You also shouldn’t use etc. after listing just one thing—you need at least two.

We swept, etc.

We swept, mopped, wiped down surfaces, etc.

In casual speech, people often repeat “etcetera.” For example, they’d say something like:

I did a lot on the cruise—got a tan, swam, ate, etcetera etcetera.

It’s acceptable in everyday language, but do not do this while writing.

I did a lot on the cruise—got a tan, swam, ate, etc. etc.

I did a lot on the cruise—got a tan, swam, ate, etc.

If you need help remembering what is the correct abbreviation of etcetera, you can use LanguageTool as your writing assistant. This advanced text editor can check for spelling and grammar errors, correct punctuation, rephrase sentences, etcetera. The best part? It’s free to try!

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