Author Topic: Comma before 'etc.'  (Read 1100 times)

Offline Natalia

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Comma before 'etc.'
« on: February 08, 2017, 04:29:07 AM »
I would like to ask you a question if I should put a comma before 'etc.', as in:

"Using songs, we can teach vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, etc."

I am writing British English and always use a comma before 'etc.' (I also note that many British authors use it in their books), but recently I have read that it is against BrE convention.  It is allegedly a matter of whether you use the Oxford comma or not.

So, if I do not use the Oxford comma, but I do use the comma before 'etc.', is it fine?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Comma before 'etc.'
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2017, 06:01:46 AM »
I have no idea about British English conventions. But I always use a comma (in American English), and I usually see it that way.

It literally means 'and others' (et cetera) in Latin, but I don't think of it as 'and' (so it's not an Oxford comma to me). As an example:
"I like apples, bananas and oranges, etc."
To me it's more like an afterthought, necessarily introduced by a comma.

But as I said, I don't know about British English conventions.

The only time I might consider not using a comma would be for a single word: "What is your favorite food? Pizza etc." - but I think I'd still probably use a comma there too.
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Offline Natalia

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Re: Comma before 'etc.'
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2017, 01:23:34 PM »
From what I know, the Oxford comma is less commonly used in British English than in American English. I thought that if I didn't use the Oxford comma, it wasn't right to use a comma before 'etc.' (which is what I actually do).
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 01:37:43 PM by Natalia »