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How to Use Etc. Correctly: A Simple Guide | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 4 August 2022)

how to use etc. correctly

How to Use Etc. Correctly

There are two key things to remember when it comes to using etc.

1. Do Not Use And in Front of Etc.

Etc., which is the abbreviation for the Latin expression et cetera, means 'and other similar things'. As the meaning of the word already has an and, it is redundant to add another and:

The hardware shop sells wires, nails, aluminium rods and etc.
The hardware shop sells wires, nails, aluminium rods, etc.

My bag contains textbooks, a pencil case, a calculator, and a long ruler, etc.
My bag contains textbooks, a pencil case, a calculator, a long ruler, etc.

2. Do Not Use Etc. with Such As or For Example

If you introduce some examples with such as or for example, do not use etc. at the end of the list:

Tom has visited many Asian countries, such as India, China, Singapore, etc.
Tom has visited many Asian countries, such as India, China, and Singapore.

I love playing a variety of ball games, such as football, basketball, volleyball, etc.
I love playing a variety of ball games, such as football, basketball, and volleyball.

Such as and for example mean that your list contains examples, not the full story. Etc. means the same.

The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English entry for etc.


Examples from the Media

Some expenses are monthly and even yearly expenditures (credit card, phone, union dues, insurance, manicure, etc.). Toronto Star

This war, of course, is against the coronavirus, with battalions headed by Delta, Alpha, Omicron, etc. —South China Morning Post

Dr Hugh Adler said transmission in households is "possible, but not common, and certainly not like we would see with COVID, influenza, measles etc". —The Sun

Practice

In the following sentences, fill in the blanks with etc., other similar things, or X if nothing should be used.

1. At the zoo, we saw monkeys, lions, tigers, elephants, ________.

2. The children took part in dance, music, painting, and ________.

3. Don't forget to take some paper, a pencil, a calculator, and ________.

4. We bought some apples, oranges, pears, bananas, ________. 

Answer Key

1. etc.    2. other similar things    3. other similar things    4. etc.

Real-World Examples of Misuse


1. Etc. is not needed after such as.
2. And is not needed before etc.

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