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I was wondering, what if write something like:

​1. There once was a black bird (it was warm, simple, etc...).

Is the sentence correct in terms of punctuation, or do I need to write four consecutive dots, as follows:

​2. There once was a black bird (it was warm, simple, etc....)

or maybe even omit the period altogether:

​3. There once was a black bird (it was warm, simple, etc...)


Also, should there be an ellipsis after the etc, or just one dot? In the case of just one dot the possible sentences would be these:

​4. There once was a black bird (it was warm, simple, etc.).

-

​5. There once was a black bird (it was warm, simple, etc..)

-

​6. There once was a black bird (it was warm, simple, etc.)

Which of these three is grammatically correct?

  • 3
    They are all equally grammatically correct and incorrect at the same time, insofar as punctuation and grammar have nothing to do with one another. – tchrist Oct 22 '15 at 0:03
  • Maybe I was thinking of grammar in theoretical computer science / automata theory term (after all this is an SE site). So, perhaps my terminology is not correct, but you know what I mean. Which of the above punctuations is the right one? – Jordan Jamingsons Oct 22 '15 at 0:07
  • The part after "and" is not a parenthetical statement. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 22 '15 at 0:11
  • 4
    Ellipsis points and an 'etc' strikes me as suspenders-and-beltish. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 22 '15 at 0:31
  • 1
    This example has some extraneous complications. Etc. is an abbreviation, so it ends with a period. Using "etc." means that you do not need the ellipsis dots. If the abbreviation were not followed by the dots, and were not inside parentheses, then you would only need one period to indicate both the abbreviation and the end of the sentence. – Jasper Oct 22 '15 at 1:06
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Based on the comments, I gather that the sentence should look like this, with a single dot after the etc., and a period outside of the right parentheses, as follows:

There once was a black bird (it was warm, simple, etc.). Then the bird flew off.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    This should be incorporated into the original question rather than posted as an answer. Note that you still need a '.' to close the sentence, after the parens. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 22 '15 at 11:07
  • Yes, that's what I wanted to know. Does that extra period go inside the parentheses (leaving exactly two consecutive dots right there), or does it go outside the parentheses? Thanks. – Jordan Jamingsons Oct 22 '15 at 11:27
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    It goes outside. The parenthesis, including its brackets, is a component of the sentence, so the sentence isn't finished until it's closed. – StoneyB on hiatus Oct 22 '15 at 11:30
  • @StoneyB, are you sure it goes outside. I've heared in many cases where a period logically/mathematically belongs outside the parentheses, English will dictate that the dot needs to be placed inside. Could you please post some references that back the information you gave? Thanks. – Jordan Jamingsons Oct 22 '15 at 11:32
  • 1
    @Jordan See the final examples here: universitywriting.shu.ac.uk/punct/advice/s_brack.htm - punctuation usually goes inside speech marks, but I've never heard of anything mandating commas/full stops before a closing parenthesis. – Jez W Oct 22 '15 at 11:53

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