Is the following sentence a correct usage of the word "respectively", or can it only be used if the things it is referring to are listed in the same sentence?

"There was a dog, a cat, and a hamster. Their names were Jess, Marc and Sam respectively."

  • That's precisely how you'd use it, yes. It's totally fine to use it in the next sentence. In this case, it's easy to understand that "respectively" refers to the aforementioned critters. If you said this 2-3 sentences later, it would be a bit more unclear. Commented May 9, 2018 at 17:07
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    So long as the reference is clear, it doesn't matter where in the larger text the subjects appear. The more removed they are from respectively, the less likely it is that the reference will be remembered—but there is no strict rule. Commented May 9, 2018 at 19:28
  • Thanks. I thought I might be being a bit pedantic, but just wanted to make sure.
    – oweydd
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


I think the usage works just fine. I'm not aware of a rule restricting the use to the same or even the next sentence.

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