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
    Commented 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. Commented 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. Commented 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. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 5:47
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    It's just a mistake in the book. It's that simple. It's either a flat-out typo, or, just poorly thought-out. Further, there are repost above that the book varies throughout - which is plain pathetic. Many books are poorly written and poorly put together. This appears to be such a book. Et cetera (I'm sure you realise that is what it is short for) is frickin' et cetera. Of course you should use an abbreviation period. And again there's zero excuse for having "mixed" variations in the one book.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 15:58

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".

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    Okay, so what's the answer?
    – Kris
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 5:20
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    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. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 7:17
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    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. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 8:00
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    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
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 8:05
  • @Kris The question was "What punctuation should be used with this abbreviation?" not "Why are there none in the OPs example?"
    – user184130
    Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 12:10

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