I know that the standard use is that an abbreviation at the end of a sentence that would normally end with a period has just a single period. I also know that a sentence that ends with a statement in parenthesis has a period on the outside of the parenthesis. However, what happens if I have both? Do I put one period inside the parenthesis and one outside, just one period outside, or just one inside? For instance:

I need to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients (flour, sugar, milk, etc.).

I need to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients (flour, sugar, milk, etc).

I need to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients (flour, sugar, milk, etc.)

  • Sethala, even if you'd shown some research, don't you think that Question would be better suited to English Language Learners? – Robbie Goodwin Apr 1 '18 at 22:56
  • Where would you put the sentence-ending period if it were "(flour, milk, and so forth)"??? – Hot Licks Apr 1 '18 at 23:22
  • No matter what, "etc." will not lose its terminal period. The end-of-sentence period appears, naturally, at the end of the sentence -- after the closing parentheses. – Kris Apr 2 '18 at 7:36

It should be

... etc.).

I can't see any apparent conflict with the usual rules, which are:

  1. The abbreviation is not at the very end of the sentence (because of the closing paranthesis), so it should have a period; and
  2. 'When matter in parentheses or brackets, even a grammatically complete sentence, is included within another sentence, the period belongs outside (the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), 17th ed., 6.13)

Moreover, every style manual I looked at would seem to endorse it (usually implicitly).

Explicit endorsement

  1. CMOS gives the following example (17th ed, 6.13: Periods in relation to parentheses and brackets):

His chilly demeanor gave him an affinity for the noble gases (helium, neon, etc.).

They give the following commentary about this:

Two periods are required—one for the abbreviation etc. and one for the sentence as a whole, outside the parentheses.

Implicit endorsements

  1. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 6th ed., 2010)

The APA manual does not address this case directly, but it includes the following sentence in the text:

Order the citations of two or more works by different authors within the same parentheses alphabetically in the same order in which they appear in the reference list (including citations that would otherwise shorten to et al.).

  1. The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook (37th ed., 2002)

This manual includes the following sentence:

The northern and southern branches of Presbyterianism merged in 1983 to become the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

  1. Modern Language Association (MLA) Handbook (8th ed., 2016)

This manual includes the following sentence:

A work online may have been published previously in another medium (as a book, a broadcast television program, a record album, etc.).

  1. Words into Type (3rd ed., completely revised, 1974)

There are many example of this in the book, e.g.:

The publisher will be responsible for typographical details (see pp. 255ff.).

The abbreviation etc. should be used as little as possible, and it should never be preceded by and (and etc.).

  1. The Oxford Guide to Style (2002)

Several examples appear in text, e.g.

All British counties with abbreviated forms take a full point (Oxon., Yorks.).

Colons are used before a quotation (Dijo el alcalde: «Que comience la fiesta.»), in letters (Querido Pablo:), and before an enumeration (Trajeron de todo: cuchillos, cucharas, sartenes, etc.).

  1. The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications (2nd ed., 2006)

Again, numerous examples, e.g.

Reread the front matter (title pages, copyright page, contents page, preface, etc.).


The spec may also call for "lining figures" (or numbers) or "old style figures" (sometimes abbreviated o.s.).


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