“Etc.” is a very common abbreviation in most forms of writing. It would help to know whether it’s an acceptable form or not. This article will look into some better alternatives that you might be able to use in formal writing (on top of whether “etc.” is acceptable).
The preferred versions are “etc.,” “et cetera,” and to “reword the sentence.” Funnily enough, “etc.” is in itself a good alternative because it is already more than suitable in formal writing. The others are also suitable, depending on the situation that “etc.” may appear.
“Etc.” is already a useful abbreviation in formal writing. There isn’t much of a reason why you can’t use it. As long as you can guarantee that your reader understands what the rest of your list contains, you’ll be able to use this one effectively.
- The lemons, apples, etc., have all been removed from the store shelves to make way for the new treats.
- You can refer to Lemmings 101, Foreword 20, etc., to find out more about these problems. They have manifested in many areas.
- I have visited many impoverished countries (Chad, Benegal, Niger, etc.), but I have never come across one as in need like this one.
If you’re worried about using an abbreviation, you can always use “et cetera.” It’s the long-form version of “etc.,” allowing you to show that there is more to a list without having to list the exact entities.
Some people think this form sounds a bit jarring. It’s almost always better to use “etc.,” which is why there is an abbreviated form in the first place.
- I want to talk to you about the birds, the bees, et cetera. I think it’s worth knowing about them to understand more about life itself.
- She wanted to go there to dance, swim, et cetera. I didn’t understand the need to do any of that, but I followed with her nonetheless.
- You will be able to find cars, bikes, boats, et cetera along the canal path. It’s worth checking out if you’re into those types of things.
Reword The Sentence
One of the best alternatives to “etc.” is to try and find a way to remove it completely. Some people like to remove it from their formal writing because they don’t want to take for granted what their readers may or may not know about a list or situation.
Instead of using “etc.,” it’s better to reword a sentence to contain only the most valuable members of the group. You usually only need to list two or three things before ending the sentence. “Etc.” becomes redundant in most cases.
- These results have made it clear that birds such as robins and doves are most affected by the changes in the local environment.
- As you can see, the currency exchange rates and the stock markets have all been affected by this source.
- I want to talk to her about the ice cream flavors. Both chocolate and vanilla seem to be the best ones, but I want her to help me out.
And So On
“And so on” is one of the more informal phrases. It’s not always used in formal writing, though there is no reason why it can’t be. Most people steer clear of it just in case it is misconstrued as a more informal construct.
At the end of the day, “and so on” is synonymous with “etc.” It’s possible to use it in all overlapping situations, so there are plenty of reasons why “and so on” might get used.
- The cars, bikes, and so on all have to be registered with the appropriate authorities. You can’t keep getting away with this.
- These results have found a need for solar energy, nuclear power, and so on. This should be more than enough to go on as we move forward.
- The rats feasted on seeds, corn, and so on from the stores that we had provided. I was quite surprised they managed to eat it all.
And The Rest
“And the rest” is another more informal choice. It’s similar to “and so on,” but “the rest” refers to the other things that might be worked out from the context.
You should make sure that this one (and all the others on the list) is only used when you are certain that a reader understands “the rest.” You need to make “the rest” of the list clear through the context if you’re not going to directly state it.
- The apples, pears, and the rest have all been sitting around for a long time without anyone so much as looking at them.
- I want to investigate the effect of the sun on the growth rate, age rate, and the rest when directly in contact with plants like this one.
- It’s going to be used to look into the energy of the unit, the system, and the rest. We should have a much better understanding after this.
“Et al.” is a Latin abbreviation that works well when you’re introducing a group of names. It’s only ever used to introduce names, and it’s a very common, formal phrase that is used when multiple people have worked on the same academic or formal paper.
“Et al.” is Latin for “et alia” (meaning “and others”). It’s very similar to using “and co.” in today’s world. It’s just a way of showing that a group much larger than the listed names has worked on a product or publication.
Often, only the most notable names will be listed. Every name after that will be grouped into the “et al.” category.
- You’re going to want the one published by Markinson et al. It’s going to have all the information you need about this situation.
- The experiment book is entitled Robison, Peters, et al. They have a lot of information published for the public to use in these cases.
- I want to find Fred et al. It should be somewhere in this section, though I’m not entirely certain what I’m looking for.
Along With Others
“Along with others” is a good way of introducing groups of people. It’s useful when you want to show that multiple people worked on the same thing, and it’s very similar to how “et al.” works. The only difference is that it is English rather than Latin.
It’s quite restrictive in how it can be used. It is still best to use this one when you’re referring to groups of people, just like how “et al.” works.
- Along with others, Steven has managed to work on a system that should revolutionize the way we can do all of these things.
- Mark, along with others, has published his first academic paper. It’s quite remarkable, and I really suggest you read it to learn more.
- Along with others, Sarah’s issues have been presented in the newspaper today. I was quite pleased to see them gaining traction.
And The Like
“And the like” isn’t as popular in most formal publications. Nevertheless, it’s still good to use when you want to show that a common group is formed. If you believe that it’s easy for the reader to work out what the group is referencing, you might be able to use this one.
- The birds, lizards, and the like have all had adverse reactions to the situation on the ground level. It’s not ideal, and it needs to be stopped.
- Peter, David, and the like are all coming along later to help us out with this. It should be enough to get us out of this tricky part.
- I want to investigate the life, death, and the like of plants. I think their life cycle is almost identical to what I’m trying to study here.
“Amongst others” goes back to the idea of “et al.” and how it works. It’s very commonly used when someone is a part of a larger group. You might also be able to use this one less specifically, allowing it to refer to people, objects, and situations.
“Et al.” is usually only for people. “Amongst others” has the freedom of being about many different things.
Again, you should only use it when you’re confident that the reader will be able to work out the “others” from the context of your writing.
- Sam, amongst others, was in charge of getting these drafts out. There should be enough out there to go on right now.
- I want it done by Peter and David, amongst others. Let me know if they have any issues with it. I want them to help us with this.
- Amongst others, the situation in Philadelphia is something that I’m trying to remedy. You’ll have to be patient with me, though.
Can You Use “Etc.” In an Essay?
You can use “etc.” in an essay, and most people use it well when creating a list. It is a formal phrase in itself. Even though it is an abbreviation, it is common in formal writing. You may use it to extend a list without stating the objects inside it.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.