1

A client of mine is using text like this:

The planter has been developed to plant row crops like maize, sunflower, soya beans, est. in a single pass without any prior soil preparation through cultivation.

I have never seen "est." used like this before, and have Googled and asked two other people, who agree.

Should this not be "etc."? Or, in full:

The planter has been developed to plant row crops like maize, sunflower, soya beans, etc. in a single pass without any prior soil preparation through cultivation.

  • 2
    Yes, it perhaps should be. That is, my understanding concurs with yours. But I don't know every possible abbreviation in the world. ;) – pazzo Nov 7 '14 at 2:43
  • @CarSmack thank you. I have not seen it used like this either. – SixfootJames Nov 7 '14 at 3:22
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The est. in the passage quoted in the OP should almost certainly be etc.,.

"Est." is one abbreviation for "established"; "est'd." is another.

"Est" is also Latin for "is", and while some Latin terms and abbreviations (like "etc.") are still used in English, it's unlikely that "est" was ever used in isolation in English, only as part of a Latin phrase, since "est" is clearly longer than "is". :)

Perhaps the "est." in the quoted passage arose when a spell-checker attempted to repair "ect" a very common misspelling of "etc". FWIW, "ECT" is an abbreviation for "electroconvulsive therapy", aka shock treatment.

  • I often hear "et cetera" pronounced "eccetera." I suspect that contributes to how common the misspelling "ect" is. – Joel Anair Nov 7 '14 at 15:28
  • @JoelAnair: I suspect that you're correct. :) It appears to be a very common error throughout the English-speaking world, and it's not that unusual to hear otherwise well-educated people saying it. – PM 2Ring Nov 8 '14 at 3:14
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Could also be "esp." for "especially", highlighting what appears to be the main improvement in this planter.

Personally, I'm guessing it's "etc." but it's worth considering.

  • Good call, Alex. It is worth considering, but I think we agree that "etc" is more likely. – PM 2Ring Nov 8 '14 at 3:25
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Is it concerned bad form or unprofessional to simply call the client for clarification? Or might that be considered "rubbing one's nose" in the error?

  • I assume that SixfootJames is doing something related to Web or software development for his client, and so the client ought to be grateful that James spotted this error. Hopefully, the client hasn't printed out 10,000 copies of a brochure containing the error... So, it might be wise to be as diplomatic as possible when pointing it out. :) – PM 2Ring Nov 8 '14 at 3:23
  • Thanks @PM2Ring. That was the case. The previous agency printed thousands of brochures with this error. Also, the client's first language is not English so I needed to be sure from the professionals here. – SixfootJames Nov 28 '14 at 1:37

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