Wordwise Wednesday: etc. and et al.

Latin is still alive and well in the English language, contrary to what most people believe. Today’s examples are frequently used abbreviations taken directly from that language: et cetera (abbreviated etc. or &c., in older documents) and et alia (et al.). Both are Latin for “and others,” but they have different uses. “Etc.” is used to extend a list of things, whereas “et al.” continues a list of people. For example:

When writing, one should have plenty of supplies on hand, such as pens, paper, etc.

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy contains articles written by Kory L. Meyerink, Loretto Dennis Szucs, et al.

Note that an acceptable interpretation of “et al.” is “among others.”

While these abbreviations are incidental, they are often confused. Knowing when to use which helps make one’s writing sharper and more easily understood.

About these ads

2 Comments to “Wordwise Wednesday: etc. and et al.”

  1. Hi, Dawn I have another “word” suggestion. I’ve noticed in various places where “who” and “whom” seem to be misapplied for a particular instance. Perhaps this is something for a later posting???

    Congratulations on your new career path. I’m sure you will do well.

    Delia

    • I’ll try to write that down on my calendar, particularly since I have a story that goes with learning the difference between who and whom. :)

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope I can make one of the reunions this year!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers

%d bloggers like this: