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Consider a group of 10 friends (Jack, Mike, Harry, Peter, Ian, Ted, Stoney, Julie, Maria, and Samantha) named 'Spartans' in some residence colony. They have collected money and bought a brand new car.

Is this structure possible?

Wow, what a sexy car that is
Yeah! That's Spartans'
Spartans'?
Ah, I mean Jack, Mike, Harry, Peter etc's.
Oh! Are they Spartans? I did not know.

Or it should be ...

Ah, I mean Jack's, Mike's, Harry's, Peter's and etc. or
Ah, I mean Jack, Mike, Harry, Peter's and etc.

I referred to lots of examples and found that etc. is generally applied to the nouns, verbs and almost anything but found no instance where it's used for the noun's possession.

  • "Et ceterorum". Just sayin'. – Codeswitcher May 9 '14 at 6:25
  • @Codeswitcher what's that? I'm not good at all languages ;) – Maulik V May 9 '14 at 6:31
  • How Latin makes the plural possessive of "et cetera", which is what "etc" is an abbreviation for. (At least, I hope that's how Latin does it. I'm out of practice.) – Codeswitcher May 9 '14 at 6:37
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    But Latin is not English, and other forms of et cetera aren't likely to be understood. Avoid, avoid, avoid. – snailcar May 9 '14 at 7:49
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    @Codeswitcher But these are people! Shouldn't it be et alius? – Tyler James Young May 9 '14 at 14:33
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"Etc." is never preceded by "and", because that's what the "et" part of "et cetera" means.

It means "and so on", so if you look at your sentence the right version would be "Ah, I mean Jack's, Mike's, Harry's, Peter's and so on", which gives you "Ah, I mean Jack's, Mike's, Harry's, Peter's etc."

As far as I can see, it can only be used with apostrophe 's' in a jokey way. "No, wait: Jack, Mike, Harry and Peter have dropped out. Now it's just etc's."

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English does not do this well. To be perfectly correct, you'd want

Ah, I mean Jack's, Mike's, Harry's, Peter's and etc.

Or rephrase it entirely.

It belongs to Jack, Mike, Harry, Peter etc.

I don't think it's ever technically correct to put a possessive apostrophe-s on "etc", but then again, I understood exactly what you meant, so for informal usage it may be fine.

  • Can you get me some reference where it's mentioned that etc cannot take apostrophe. That's because when we put etc. there in my example, it refers to those nouns and not their things. That's the question basically! – Maulik V May 9 '14 at 14:14

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