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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Punctuation Commas needed after 'etc.,' 'and so on,' & 'and so forth'?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, May 5, 2014.

    Do we need a comma after "etc.," "and so on," and "and so forth" below? I say no to all. I think that the commas can be omitted in all. Do you concur?

    (1) Proper technique (with attention paid to posture, wrist position, distance from the keyboard, etc., in the later performances) is not in and of itself sufficient to explain Rubinstein’s endurance.

    (2) Cats, dogs, parrots, etc., in transit must be confined to cages.

    (3) Pencils, colored paper, protractors, etc., are needed for the project.

    (4) The carpenter’s saw, hammer, level, and so on, were found in the attic.
    (My druthers: The carpenter’s saw, hammer, level and so on were found in the attic. Agreed?)

    (5) The philosopher’s population studies, classic textbooks, stray notes, and so forth, were found in the attic.

    (6) Mike Smith, Joe Durning, et al., will be at the meeting.
    (I say that the comma should be removed before and after 'et al.' here....Do you concur?)

    (7) Mike Smith et al., will be at the meeting. (Omit comma after et al.?)


    Thank you. :)
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  2. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Don't get me started on commas! I hate the little blighters. :-D

    I would get rid of them as per your suggestion, along with any before the words 'and' and 'but'
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't see any reason to use commas in any of those examples because the "et al." and "etc." can be thought of as the last item in the list.
     
  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank y'all. :)
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    On a related note, it might be helpful to look at restrictive vs. nonrestrictive clauses so that you have a better understanding of when to use commas.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    none of those last commas belong there, because the lists function as the subject of the sentence and are followed by a verb, are not clauses that need to be separated from what follows...
     
  7. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thanks, maia.

    I'm ditching The Chicago Manual of Style because it gives erroneous advice. I don't think it's all that it's cracked up to be—truly.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Like I said above, you may need to look over restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses because you don't always omit the comma.
     
  9. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    But as maia said, you would (as I did) in all my examples.
     
  10. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes. That's because they're restrictive clauses. Consider this example, where a comma is needed:

    Many people, including Bob, John, et al., think video games are fun.
     
  11. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I emailed OWL at Purdue last week, and they said to omit the commas in these:

    1. I need to speak to my wife Jennifer. (Not: I need to speak to my wife, Jennifer.) -- one wife

    2. My wife Jennifer agreed to the proposal. (Not: My wife, Jennifer, agreed to the proposal.) -- one wife

    OWL said, "Finally, for your third example I would recommend using the least complicated of the three, which would be the first. You are using commas and semicolons to indicate shift or emphasis, but it makes the sentence far more confusing than it needs to be."

    Correct is "My wife Samantha, my daughter Alexis, and my son Sam will be at the picnic."

    Not: My wife, Samantha; my daughter, Alexis; and my son, Sam, will be at the picnic. -- one wife, one daughter and one son

    Chicago says the opposite (to include those commas and semicolons). That's where I'm getting confused.
     
  12. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    But that example is different, no?
     
  13. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    You can drop the periods after etc and et al too. I've never once used the periods after them and have never once been docked for it. Makes them look a lot more natural.
     
  14. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Use 'em only when these words end a sentence. I think the omission of full stops in these - including am/pm - does in fact look much cleaner but don't know whether it's acceptable.

    9 am - instead of 9 a.m.
    4:30 pm - instead of 4:30 p.m.
     
  15. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've been taught that having the comma is correct, but I do like 1. without the comma because there's no ambiguity. This is probably one of those deals where modern usage is moving away from the comma. In fact, I know I've seen sentences like your third example (with the semicolons) in older books.

    Yeah, it is, but it's good to be aware of the difference.
     
  16. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Excellent, thirdwind!

    Thanks so much.

    Have an awesome day!
     
  17. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    The difference, I believe, is to also add a comma after "etc." and "and so on" when a sentence calls for its insertion.

    Consider these:

    When Mike said he needed cement, levels, sheet rock, etc., his boss agreed to the purchase. (Comma after etc. because it is needed at that point in the sentence.)

    But: Cement, levels, sheet rock, etc. are needed for the construction project.

    Cement, levels, sheet rock, and so forth are needed for the construction project.

    (No comma after etc. and and so forth) -- Correct on both counts?

    When Mike said he needed cement, levels, sheet rock, and so forth, his boss agreed to the purchase.

    Do you agree? Otherwise, midsentence (as in my originals), we just omit them.

    Thanks.
     
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  18. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I agree with those.
     
  19. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Sorry, thirdwind. I was adding to the thread when you responded. Do you agree with this too?

    But:

    Cement, levels, sheet rock, etc. are needed for the construction project.
    (No comma after "etc." because the sentence doesn't require it up till that point.)

    Cement, levels, sheet rock, and so forth are needed for the construction project.
    (No comma after "and so forth" because the sentence doesn't require it up till that point.)

    If I am correct, I now understand the difference when to apply commas and when not to.
     
  20. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I agree with those as well.
     
  21. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you—deeply appreciated.

    Mike
     

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