Understanding the Common Misuse: Ect vs. Etc?

Many individuals get confused between the correct usage of etc. and ect.. This guide will simplify the concept and help you understand how to use these abbreviations properly.

Understanding Etcetera

Et cetera, often abbreviated as etc., is a Latin term incorporated into English language. It means “and so forth” or “and so on”, and is used to express the continuation of a list without painstakingly enumerating each item. This abbreviation is accepted in both written and oral communication.

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Correct Pronunciation of Etcetera

The standard pronunciation of etcetera is /ˌet ˈsetərə/, which sounds like et-set-era. Nonetheless, a popular yet nonstandard pronunciation that sounds like ex-set-era also exists, leading to some confusion about whether the correct abbreviation of etcetera is etc. or ect.

Correct Abbreviation of Etcetera

Despite the common mispronunciation, the correct abbreviation for etcetera is etc.. The variation ect. is a widespread error and should be avoided. Etc. can appear in the middle or at the end of a sentence and always includes a period. However, if it’s at the end, no additional period is required.


Usage Rules of Etcetera

Etc. is used after listing at least two things. Note that it should not be used redundantly after phrases like “such as” or “for example” which already indicate incomplete lists. Additionally, repeating etc. is acceptable in everyday linguistic use, but it should not be done while writing.

Examples of Correct Usage

    • I need to buy bread, milk, fruits, etc.
    • This store sells cards, calendars, gift wrappers, etc.
    • She finds joy in painting, hiking, writing, etc.

Incorrect Usage

    • Incorrect: We need to buy bread and etc.
    • Incorrect: For the party, we bought snack foods such as chips, popcorn, etc.
    • Incorrect: He enjoys playing soccer, etc., in his free time.


Using the abbreviation etc. correctly can make our speech and writing more efficient. Remember, the incorrect form ect. is due to the nonstandard pronunciation of the term etcetera. By adhering to these guidelines and understanding the correct usage, we can express ourselves more eloquently and avoid common mistakes.

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