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Etc. and Et al.: Latin Abbreviations Used in Lists

"Etc." and "et al." are two common abbreviations used to represent a continuing list. This pair is often interchanged, but they are different in their contexts and uses. Recognizing when and how they are included in writing will help ollege essay writers use them appropriately.


"Et cetera," meaning "and the rest" is probably the most commonly used abbreviation of the two, but should definitely not be overused. This abbreviation is written in all lowercase letters, unless it is used in the rare circumstance that it begins a sentence (the abbreviation would then receive a capital "E"), followed by a period, and serves to indicate a logical continuation of an established list. "Etc." should not be used as a way to write my essay for me information; rather, it should be used after at least two items have been specified so the reader can infer the remaining items. Example: Mary spent the day shopping for clothes with her son and bought pants, shirts, hoodies, socks, etc.

Most people are familiar with shopping for clothes so they can infer the other clothing essentials that could be included on the list. A comma is usually included after the last item listed and before "etc." Example: Before we brought home our new puppy, we went to the store to buy dog food, toys, grooming supplies, etc., so he would have everything he needs.Again, this is a familiar list of items that people can readily add to through inference. Notice that, despite appearing in the middle of the sentence, "etc." still needs a period. "Etc." also only applies to a continuing list of things, not people.

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Et al.

"Et al." is very similar to "etc." and is often used in its place. However, while "etc." refers to things, "et al." is used with a list of people. This abbreviation stands for "et alii", which means "and others" and is written as two separate lowercase words, with a period after the second word. "Et al." can be added to depict a continuing list of important people you have referenced in your writing. Even though the definition of this abbreviation is "and others" (plural), some style guides from college essay writing service consider using "et al." after one name, especially in citations, acceptable. Example: The 2009 publication of "The Best American Short Stories" contains pieces by Richard Powers, Annie Proulx, Adam Johnson, et al., and is edited by Alice Sebold.

The comma after the list and before "et al." is acceptable, depending on which style guide you are using: "The Chicago Manual of Style" considers it necessary while "The Associated Press Stylebook" does not. The comma after "et al." is only required if the grammatical construction of the sentence calls for it. In this case, the abbreviation above does require a comma because it is followed by a coordinating conjunction and another dependent clause. Example: George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, et al. are former Republican presidents.

In this sentence, a comma after "et al." is not necessary because the list substitutes for the noun of the sentence followed by the verb "are." Note that because there are eighteen presidents who fall under this category, you would not want to list them all. However, if you wanted to add more information such as "who served two terms," you would include all the names since there are only four. Example: Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush are Republican presidents who served two terms. Because the list is complete, "et al." is omitted.

Before using abbreviations in write my essay for me free, be sure to consult your teachers or professors to understand their policies on the topic. "Etc." and "et al." can be very helpful, but only when they fit the appropriate circumstances.

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