Someone told me that "etc." is not formal. However, based on my research in internet, some people said that it is acceptable to use "etc." in academic paper.

How about IELTS writing exam then? Is "etc." acceptable in there?

  • Is your question about the IELTS exam specifically, or about the use of etc. in general? – Jason Bassford Jun 26 '18 at 0:19
  • @JasonBassford It's about writing test in IELTS – Yusril Maulidan Raji Jun 26 '18 at 1:39
  • I can't give a definitive answer on IELTS as I don't have a study guide. I would suggest, however, that you can't go wrong if you use and so on instead . . . – Jason Bassford Jun 26 '18 at 2:33

It isn't a question of formality, but one of clear writing

The use of "etc" tends to suggest that the student can't think of any more examples. Using "etc" assumes that the reader will know the rest of the list and this is often not the case. It is nearly always better to list fully, or rephrase.

Don't say:

In summer I visited Tokyo, Osaka etc.

Because I don't know how to complete the list, instead:

I summer I visited Tokyo, Osaka and many other cities in Japan.

There are situations when it can be used, for example in an infinite list:

The triangle numbers (1, 3, 6, 10, etc.) have been known since ancient times.

Take a look at https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/66149/is-it-suitable-to-use-etc-in-an-academic-paper on our sister site.

  • Thanks for the answer and that's a great advice! However, do you know if it's fine to use ".etc" for writing in IELTS or not? – Yusril Maulidan Raji Jun 26 '18 at 1:44
  • 1
    It is nearly always better to give a complete list or rephrase to avoid "etc". – James K Jun 26 '18 at 6:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.