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Thread: And the like

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    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Question And the like

    Hi all,

    I remember in one of the reference books, I don't remember which one, I read "etc." should be avoided in academic writing, and instead "and the like" should be used, or at least preferred. However, CALD gives "and the like" is informal so for me it's a kind of inconsistency - I should prefer "and the like", which is informal. My questions, then, are: (1) Is "and the like" informal? (2) May it be freely used in academic writing? (3) Should I indeed prefer it to "etc."?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus

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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: And the like

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus View Post
    Hi all,

    I remember in one of the reference books, I don't remember which one, I read "etc." should be avoided in academic writing, and instead "and the like" should be used, or at least preferred. However, CALD gives "and the like" is informal so for me it's a kind of inconsistency - I should prefer "and the like", which is informal. My questions, then, are: (1) Is "and the like" informal? (2) May it be freely used in academic writing? (3) Should I indeed prefer it to "etc."?

    Thanks,
    Nyggus
    1 I wouldn't say it was very informal; it is quite formal, in fact, in comparison with 'and things like that' or 'and things of that kind'.

    2 I have seen it in academic writing; you could increase the formality by saying 'and [nouns] of that nature'.

    3 I don't see anything wrong with 'etc', but you need to spell it right (a common mistake is "ect" - and people who spell it like that often read "etc." as /ik'setrə/). There is also an argument that it's a perhaps insensitive parade of learning - as it's Latin for "and other things"; and that it's best not to use foreign abbreviations when writing for a non-English audience.

    In the light of 3, you might choose not to use it in some contexts.

    b

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    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: And the like

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    1 I wouldn't say it was very informal; it is quite formal, in fact, in comparison with 'and things like that' or 'and things of that kind'.

    2 I have seen it in academic writing; you could increase the formality by saying 'and [nouns] of that nature'.

    3 I don't see anything wrong with 'etc', but you need to spell it right (a common mistake is "ect" - and people who spell it like that often read "etc." as /ik'setrə/). There is also an argument that it's a perhaps insensitive parade of learning - as it's Latin for "and other things"; and that it's best not to use foreign abbreviations when writing for a non-English audience.

    In the light of 3, you might choose not to use it in some contexts.

    b
    Thanks, BobK. And in the light of 3, what about "and other things" to use instead of "and the like"?

    Nyggus

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    Re: And the like

    PS

    Also, absolute purists (that is, fanatics) might insist on 'etcetera' for things, 'et ceteri' for men, and 'et ceterae' for women. This fad strikes me as ridiculous.

    b

    PPS
    Just saw your post: - 'and other things' sounds fine to me.
    Last edited by BobK; 18-Jun-2007 at 00:03. Reason: PS added

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    nyggus is offline Key Member
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    Re: And the like

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    PS

    Also, absolute purists (that is, fanatics) might insist on 'etcetera' for things, 'et ceteri' for men, and 'et ceterae' for women. This fad strikes me as ridiculous.

    b
    What would the absolute purists use for children?

    Nyggus

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    Re: And the like

    Quote Originally Posted by nyggus View Post
    What would the absolute purists use for children?

    Nyggus
    '-i' for boys, '-ae' for girls. But I was thinking about this last night, and I think it may have been a 'Man of Straw' (a point of view I thought up only to knock it down).

    A real view I've met is that etcetera means 'and other things', and if you want to say 'and other people' you have to use et al. So you shouldn't say 'Tom, Dick, Harry, etc'. I don't thing I would say that, but I wouldn't accuse anyone who did say it of making a mistake.

    b

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    Re: And the like

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Also, absolute purists (that is, fanatics) might insist on 'etcetera' for things, 'et ceteri' for men, and 'et ceterae' for women. This fad strikes me as ridiculous.
    It's a fad? Whaddya mean fanatics?

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    Re: And the like

    Children would be "etceterats," of course.

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