Throughout Practical English Usage 3rd Edition (Swan, 2005), the author writes etc in a manner I can't help but wonder if it's a typo.

  • Much/far/a lot etc more money
  • Many/far/a lot etc more opportunities

Throughout the book, he does not put a period (full stop) after "etc" and he never uses commas in combination with "etc".

I'm taking notes by writing the book verbatim on to notebooks, and I've been finding other grammatical mistakes. It's a little disconcerting when trying to use the book as a reference source. I'm hoping you guys can help me figure out if this is just another.

What punctuation should be used with this abbreviation?

  • It's far more likely, given that you say it is consistent, that, in a book like Swan, it was done on purpose. The question you should be asking is, "Why was this done." instead of, "Is this a mistake."
    – Jim
    Aug 6, 2014 at 3:54
  • Punctuation is not grammar. In any event, if you find a "mistake", consider the possibility that it's not actually a mistake. Consider instead that you might be wrong. Perhaps Swan knows more about English grammar than you do. Aug 6, 2014 at 3:54
  • John, I don't dispute the matter of my novice status. I just suggest that perhaps liberal assistance from research assistants or lack of close attention by copy editors have left a few unnecessary mistakes. If you want some examples of errors, check 51.1 for ending parenthetical punctuation, 82.3 for ordinal ending. Other's I will hold off and maybe mention in other posts to see if they are indeed mistakes or not. Aug 6, 2014 at 5:32
  • All three variations appear in the book, (See 307.2); (See 223.7.); and even one instance of (#). in the latter half of the book. In 82.3, he has an example, "My birthday's on March 21st." It's my understanding that in the case of dates we do not add the 'st'. As far as I know it's spoken, not written. Aug 6, 2014 at 5:47
  • I'm willing to accept variances in style, but when a book is designed for EFL teachers of EFL students, the format is a very important element. If you have ever taught EFL, you will certainly know that they are taught grammar with the purpose of passing tests. Variances of style without consistency seems like a mistake. In my personal life I'm completely fine with informal usage, but in my professional life it's not conducive to the needs of the EFL community that depend on me. Aug 6, 2014 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


I hope that these references help you see how some other authorities handle the abbreviation for "etcetera".

"The Chicago Manual of Style", the Australian Government's "Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers", and "Fowler's Modern English Usage", all highly regarded and of long standing, all invariably use a period after etc. and they also have suggestions about commas with "etc".

  • 4
    Okay, so what's the answer?
    – Kris
    Aug 6, 2014 at 5:20
  • 2
    The answer, Kris, is that three unimpeachable authorities (who I referenced) always use a period after "etc." I am inexperienced at answering. I would be pleased if you could tell me why my answer to the question, "What punctuation should be used with this abbreviation?" was not clear and to the point. Aug 6, 2014 at 7:17
  • 1
    I think your answer was more like a comment than an answer. But I do think it was a bit harsh that you received three negative votes. Aug 6, 2014 at 8:00
  • 1
    The "three unimpeachable authorities" all invariably use a period after etc. and they also have suggestions about commas with "etc"." They do not explain why there are no punctuation marks in the OP's example and if that constitutes an error.
    – Kris
    Aug 6, 2014 at 8:05
  • It's incredibly bizarre anyone voted down this answer.
    – Fattie
    Aug 6, 2014 at 15:55

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