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Writing Mistakes that Make You Look Dumb

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Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Et cetera: a useful Latin-derived tool for shortening lists. However, unless you are a lawyer, using it (and especially overusing it) can make you sound unprofessional.

If you must, use it once. A second or third occurrence in the same document essentially says, “I really don’t know what I’m talking about, so I’ll just jam etc. on the end and try to pretend I do!”

Another et cetera mistake is using it when you should use “et al.” Listing a set of objects? Use etc. Listing a group of people? Use et al. It also is derived from Latin and means “and others.”

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