Which short phrase or abbreviation could I use here to mean and other things?

The medulla oblongata controls respiration and cardiovascular rhythm ____.

Etc. would not fit as it carries the connotation of the continuation being obvious, while the phrase I'm looking for would mean that it was omitted for other reasons, e.g., brevity.

The text is intended only for me, but I'd still prefer a phrase or abbreviation that would be recognised by others, too.

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    "Etc." means "and other things", lit. "and the rest (of such things)"; I am afraid the your belief that there is a connotation more obvious compared to the phrase "and other things" is false (i.e. use etc)
    – Unreason
    Oct 18, 2011 at 15:27
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    Maybe just some dots ...
    – GEdgar
    Oct 18, 2011 at 15:28
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    Etc. alone would probably work just fine.
    – user11550
    Oct 18, 2011 at 15:53
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    @Unreason: I'm sure strictly speaking you're right, but I think OP has a point in that very often etc. is used to mean and other similar things - which the reader can probably guess, given those examples. In the case of respiration and cardiovascular rhythm, most of us wouldn't have a clue what other bodily functions might be included, so here it really does just have to mean and various other things. Oct 18, 2011 at 16:26

4 Answers 4


Use i.a. It's Latin; inter alia means among other things. If etc. was ever a viable choice, then another Latin abbreviation should be no problem.

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    "If etc. was ever a viable choice, then another Latin abbreviation should be no problem." How do you figure? etc. is, I'd wager, familiar to 99+% of people reading about "the medulla oblongata" etc., whereas i.a. I've never seen in my life. Oct 18, 2011 at 15:53
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    Fair enough! Upvoted: I like your answer, glad to learn it; initially it just failed the "will people understand you" test but since it's just for him, it's irrelevant. Oct 18, 2011 at 15:57
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    +1 for inter alia, but to be honest I personally probably wouldn't understand the abbreviated form. I think it's best written in full. Oct 18, 2011 at 16:29
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    "inter alia" means "among other things" So, uh, how about just "among other things?" Oct 18, 2011 at 20:56
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    Personally I don't recall ever seeing "inter alia" abbreviated "i.a." I'm certainly not saying it's wrong, just that I think it's a very rare usage. Spelling it out is, well, not exactly common, but more common.
    – Jay
    Oct 19, 2011 at 17:07

I think what you're looking for is "et al", which is short for Latin "et alii", and means "and others".

Like, "We gave samples of our product to ABC Company, X Corporation, Miller & Sons, et al."

There is a slight difference in connotation between "etc" and "et al". "etc" implies "others of the same sort", while "et al" just means "others".

In practice, though, most Americans use "etc" pretty freely for this sort of thing. I doubt anyone would find any problem with you using "etc" in your example.

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    I've got the impression that "et al" is used with people and places, and not things in general.
    – user4727
    Oct 18, 2011 at 15:50
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    @Tim: Hmmm. Where I most often see "el al" used is with an author or authors names, like "as discussed in the paper by Smith, Jones, et al". It also regularly turns up in court decisions, where it is applied to people and to organizations, like "Smith et al v. XYZ Corp et al". I checked a few dictionaries and none said one way or the other. I found a few examples on the web of its use with other things, like an article in the Guardian newspaper headlined "Facebook et al infantilising the human brain" and an article on a biology site that said "ferns et al". (continued ...)
    – Jay
    Oct 19, 2011 at 13:41
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    ... Of course you then run into the question of whether these examples are a few non-standard uses that should be considered "wrong", or if this represents the norm. Oh, a couple of the dictionaries did mention that it can stand for "et alii" (masculine), "et aliae" (feminine), or "et alia" (neuter). The inclusion of a neuter might imply that it can apply to objects. I'll gladly yield to an authoritative source.
    – Jay
    Oct 19, 2011 at 13:44

I am missing a direction in your statement. E.g.

A controls B and C and other things.

Is very much like saying

Oregano can be used on pasta and meatballs and other things.


Oregano can be used on dishes such as pasta and meatballs.

Would perhaps better express the meaning of your statement, which is exemplification.

In short, how about:

The medulla oblongata controls autonomic functions, such as respiration and cardiovascular rhythm.

  • This is a neat solution, but it requires some additional information. For instance, I'm not sure the medulla controls only autonomic functions. Of course, I could go with "The medulla oblongata controls some autonomic functions, such as respiration and cardiovascular rhythm, i.a." :)
    – user4727
    Oct 18, 2011 at 16:49
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    @tim Yes, you will have to supply a proper description there, as I am not too well versed in human anatomy. =) But the point is to go from the generic, to examples.
    – TLP
    Oct 18, 2011 at 16:52
  • I don't know if the medulla controls only autonomic functions, but I'm pretty sure some autonomic functions (kidneys?) are primarily controlled by stuff further down the backbone. But per my comment to the original post, even if autonomic functions, such as... is actually accurate, it's not much use unless you know how to identify what such as means in this context. Which most of us don't. Oct 18, 2011 at 18:35
  • @FumbleFingers What the OP is asking for is not a statement that is all encompassing and complete even for unversed readers, but simply a phrase that is similar to "and other things".
    – TLP
    Oct 18, 2011 at 18:52
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    I know, but the discussions seem much concerned with whether we're looking for and other things or and other such things, where it makes a difference whether the reader can recognise a "category" after being given a couple of examples. Oct 18, 2011 at 19:04
  1. i.a. usually stands for in absentia. It does also, rarely and in legal contexts, stand for inter alia (among other things) and inter alios (among other persons).

  2. etc., et cetera, means "and (all) the rest of the things of this kind, and all the others like it."

  3. et al., et alii, means "and other persons," not "and (all) the other persons." The unabbreviated conjunction et has no period.

  4. If you want to say "and all the rest of the persons of this group," you'll have to say "and all the rest" or "and everyone else" or, in unabbreviated Latin, et ceteri (Anglicized pronunciation et-SET-er-eye). If you want to limit the group to females, say et ceterae (Anglicized pronunciation et-SET-er-ee).

  5. If you want to say "and other things," you'll have to say that or, in Latin, et alia. If you want to say "and other females," you'll have to say et aliae (Anglicized pronunciation et-AL-ee-ee).

  6. Actually, Wikipedia "Latin Phrases" is accurate and helpful.

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