I am trying to tie together some pieces of grammar here. Specifically: What is proper full-stop and comma notation in combination with parentheses?

The issue shows when abbreviations are involved as in these sentences:

He measured all the properties (though not height, width, depth etc.).

He measured all the properties (though not height, width, depth etc.), which might be of use.

At the closing parenthesis, there are the weird-looking .). and .), constructions. Is this actually correct notation?

The answer on this question concludes that the full-stop in the first sentence can both be inside or outside the parenthesis depending on which part of the text, it is tied to. I would therefore keep it outside in the example above.

  • (Although I'm not really sure if the answers there are satisfactory on this point.)
    – Hellion
    Jan 31, 2017 at 15:03
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    @Hellion This is a duplicate of the last part of that question, which was added in after the answers had been made—so while it is there in the question, none of the answers address it. Jan 31, 2017 at 15:25
  • @JanusBahsJacquet So... Should I wait for this 5-year old question to wake up and get an answer to that added paragraph? I believe it should have been a whole new question, since the answers there already conclude and end the first part of the question.
    – Steeven
    Jan 31, 2017 at 15:36
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    The only change I would suggest is to put a comma after "depth." Otherwise, yes, you are using correct punctuation; i.e., "He measured all the properties (though not height, width, depth, etc.), which might be of use." Nothing is odd about it. Jan 31, 2017 at 15:39

2 Answers 2


The Chicago Manual of Style (13th ed) says:

Although the use of etc. in running text is to be discouraged, it should, when used, be set off by commas:

The firm manufactured nuts, bolts, nails, metal wire, etc., in its plant on the Passaic River.

However, in the OP's case, the closing parenthesis serves as a comma. I would recommend keeping the second form listed. (And since CMOS has the etc. set off by commas, one should add a comma before the etc.)

... properties (though not height, width, depth, etc.), which ...

So .). and .),, while looking unusual, are correct.


The answer is yes, you need a period after etc. And you need a period at the end of the sentence and a comma before which, in your examples. But if a sentence ends in etc. then you do not use two successive periods; a single period serves for both etc and the sentence end.

The two rules that apply here are (1) period after etc. and (2) normal punctuation otherwise, together with the rule/fact that a single period serves for both cases when etc. comes at the end of a sentence.

  • You don't need a period after 'etc'. It's stylistic. Jan 31, 2017 at 15:49
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    Interesting. I cannot remember ever reading the abbreviation for et cetera where the period was absent. Even 200 years ago a period was used for "&c." for instance. Is it a BrEng style, like omitting the period after "Mr."? Jan 31, 2017 at 16:00
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    @Clare (and whoever downvoted): It may be stylistic to omit a period after etc (and other such), but such a style is presumably used systematically, not arbitrarily (some etc here and some etc. there). And when such a style is not in use, I think my description is pretty accurate. Styles come and go. What I describe is a longstanding behavior (style, if you like), and I believe it is still the dominant one in practice. (There are people who write eg (or eg.) and ie instead of e.g. and i.e.. That doesn't make the use of the latter just one style among many.)
    – Drew
    Jan 31, 2017 at 16:34
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    Looking at it from another angle, you could say that there is only one rule (that two successive, identical punctuation marks are always contracted into one), and that this rule does not apply here, since there aren’t two successive, identical punctuation marks. Jan 31, 2017 at 17:52

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