I have a question regarding proper usages of a citation number after the "etc" word.

So the sentence goes like this:

This is a random sentence about words and etc. Here is another sentence. Now If I would like to cite, should the number in brackets be before the dot, or after?

Option 1:

This is a random sentence about words and etc [1]. Here is another sentence.

Option 2:

This is a random sentence about words and etc. [1] Here is another sentence.

I have no idea which one is correct. I would appreciate all help!

  • 15
    Aside from the comments from @astronat and apnorton about avoiding etc in a context where you would be citing something, the et in et cetera translates to and. So you would never ever say "and etc." because it's like saying "and and"... Jun 13, 2017 at 21:28
  • 1
    If the typesetting is screaming this badly, it's often a good idea to take it as a sign that there are better phrasings out there and that the paragraph could use some reshaping.
    – E.P.
    Jun 13, 2017 at 21:48
  • 1
    @Fred Douglis this is a very good point. Compare to the similar &c. Jun 13, 2017 at 21:54
  • Latin abbreviations (etc., i.e., e.g.) are bad style in general. . Writing "random sentence about words and so on [1]." is already strictly better. All other revisions suggested also apply. Jun 14, 2017 at 0:17
  • @Blaisorblade [citation needed]. For example, the Chicago Manual of Style discourages "etc." specifically but doesn't seem to discourage other Latin abbreviations. Jun 14, 2017 at 11:59

1 Answer 1


The full stop indicates that etc. is a contraction of et cetera. This means that the citation should come after the dot:

etc. [1]

If this is the end of the sentence, put a second full stop after the citation:

etc. [1].

As an aside, my old English teacher told me that using etc. is bad form; if you have other things to list, be explicit and list them. If not, don't waste space with the pointless filler. (However, I myself have often broken this rule.)

  • 5
    +1 especially for the last paragraph. If you're using "etc." in academic writing, you need to be more specific.
    – apnorton
    Jun 13, 2017 at 20:57
  • I agree with the 'bad form' point. To me, if an author uses 'etc', it simply says 'i don't know', or 'I'm too lazy to list the items for you'. Jun 13, 2017 at 23:39
  • Yes, except a few journals have the reference after the full stop rather than before, in which case you shouldn't have two (if etc. ends a sentence you would only have one). This is perhaps more common with a superscript citation style.
    – Chris H
    Jun 14, 2017 at 8:42
  • 5
    Using "etc" at the end of a list makes explicit that the list is not inclusive. This might be because a few elements are omitted, in which case one can argue that they should be added. However, the full list may be simply too large for the paper - laziness is not the only reason to shorten it. The list might not even be finite - "The prime numbers, 2,3,5, etc. have the property ...". If you omit the "etc", you would be talking about just those 3 prime numbers. (Of course I'm using prime numbers as an meta-example here, no real paper would need to have examples of prime numbers)
    – MSalters
    Jun 14, 2017 at 9:37
  • 1
    @MSalters Though in most publications (academic writing in general?) it is more common to see something like "We have studied cats including, but not restricted to, feral kittens, siam cats and calico cats." instead of "We have studied feral kittens, siam cats, calico cats etc." This involves mentioning the "category" you are using, which is not obvious with the etc (would dogs be included because this is about pets or is it just cats that have been studied?)
    – skymningen
    Jun 14, 2017 at 10:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .