Re: et cetera

Subject: Re: et cetera
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 1998 23:00:25 GMT

>"Parker, Cassandra M. (EXCH)" <CMPARKER -at- INTERMEDIA -dot- COM> >posts:
>> What is the appropriate usage of the word etc.
In my opinion, "etc." shouldn't be used in technical documents.

It's Latin, it's an abbreviation, it's sometimes a pain to punctuate,
and there's lots of good alternatives. I prefer to either limit a list
by introducing a list with "examples are . . . " or "such as." In
structures that would take etc., I replace "etc." with "and so on."

Now that I'm done ranting --

>> 1. When it is in the middle of a sentence, should a comma follow it?
Yes. (per Chicago Manual of Style)

>> 2. When etc. is at the end of a sentence and the sentence ends with a
>> question mark or a period, how do you handle this?
sentence ends with a period, etc.
sentence ends with a question mark, etc.? (Per CMS 5.134: An
abbreviating period, however, is never omitted before a mark of
sentence punctuation unless the latter is the period terminating the

>> 3. When etc. is at the end of a sentence but in parentheses, what would
>> you do here:
>> (computers, printers, scanners, etc.).
I believe this is correct based on the CMS 5.134 quotes.


Barbara Philbrick, Caslon Services Inc.
Technical Writing. caslonsvcs -at- ibm -dot- net
Cleveland, OH

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