You’re looking for a way to make an open list in an essay, but is “etc.” an appropriate term to use in formal writing?
We’re here to answer that question while also providing a list of alternative phrases that you can use to keep your professor pleased!
Other Ways to Say “Etc.”
- Among others
- And so on
- And such others
- And the like
- Continuing the same way
- And what have you
- And so forth
- And others
- And the rest
- And all the rest
- Inter alia
- Among other things
- Et al.
- You can use “etc.” sparingly in an academic paper, but many grammar and academic authorities advise against doing so at all.
- To rephrase your sentence, you can use the phrase “among others” instead of “etc.”
- Another good synonym with which to end an open list is “and so on.”
Don’t click away! We still need to discuss our favorite alternatives to “etc.” in more detail. Moreover, we’ll provide some useful examples using each.
After that, we’ll discuss whether you can use “etc.” in an academic essay. If so, how?
If you’re looking for a different way to say “etc.” in your academic writing, we would recommend the phrase “among others” instead.
“Among others” is a better phrase to use than “etc.” in formal writing.
Firstly, it can be used at the end of a list to show that it is not a closed list, much like the original term.
Secondly, this phrase is not abbreviated, making it less informal. As a rule of thumb for essays, it’s always good to write things out for clarity. Therefore, one should never assume that the reader already knows about the topic, which is what a term like “etc.” might imply.
Finally, to see this synonym in action, let’s look at a snippet from a faux research paper or two:
For the purposes of this paper, we studied the impacts of our modified “pollen-like” solution on the digestive tracts of winged insects, including butterflies, moths, beetles, and bees, among others.
It was noted that the following symptoms, among others, were shared in patients who had been in contact with radiation: fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite.
And So On
If you’re wondering what to say instead of “etc.” when you don’t want to write out an entire list in an essay, “and so on” is an effective alternative.
This synonym is more similar to “etc.,” as it implies that the reader already knows what else would appear on a particular list. Thus, there is no need to include everything.
However, this synonym is a better phrase to use in an essay. After all, people often use the abbreviation “etc.” incorrectly, so a phrase like this is significantly clearer.
Consider the following examples to see what we mean:
The CEO was advised to re-evaluate the company’s onboarding scheme, which included a larger recruitment team, more thorough training, and so on.
The impacts of AI are being seen across multiple commercial industries, including marketing, advertising, legal, and so on.
Can You Use “Etc.” in Formal Writing?
You can use “etc.” in formal writing. However, most academic and grammar authorities advise against doing so. After all, it is very easy to overuse and misuse this term.
For example, you should not use “etc.” after a single example or in the middle of a sentence. The proper way to say “etc.” is to use it at the end of an indefinite list. Moreover, the list should include only things that are of the same type. Here’s an example:
- Correct: We tested on various winged insects, such as butterflies, moths, skippers, etc.
- Incorrect: The parents of our participants were asked to supply stationery, blankets, identification documents, etc.
In other words, you should only use “etc.” where the reader can assume what else would go on the list. As the list in the second example is so broad, it is inappropriate to use “etc.”
While you can generally use “etc.” in lists or tables, most academics consider it informal. Therefore, you should avoid using it in narrative essays or papers that are not scientific in nature. Thus, we would recommend rephrasing your sentence using one of the synonyms in our list.
In conclusion, “etc.” is an informal term that you should only use sparingly and cautiously in academic writing. In fact, most authorities urge you to avoid using it at all.
Therefore, if you think you might need our list of synonyms on hand for your next paper, feel free to bookmark this page!