By Mary Morel
Reader’s question: Do you need a comma before etc. in a list?
Answer: I don’t think you need a comma before etc., but not everyone agrees. You decide!
apples, peaches, apricots, etc.
apples, peaches, apricots etc.
I have become increasingly aware that many people dislike this little word. They feel it is a lazy word for ‘I can’t think of anything else to include’.
Such critics think it is better to use:
for example, a, b and c
such as a, b and c
Since I am now trying to banish etc. from my vocabulary, I will no longer care about whether or not it is preceded by a comma! (Updating this post, I am aware that I haven’t banished etc. from my language. I still find etc. useful at times, but avoid it in formal writing.)
A related punctuation point is : Do you need a full stop after etc.? I still use a full stop because etc. is an abbreviation for et cetera, but I notice that some writers are dropping the full stop.
What do you think about punctuation with etc.?
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Read my longer post on commas.
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