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Research paper: Comma after "etc." at the end of a sentence

January 17, 2014
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Question Description

Is it correct to use comma after etc., at the end of the sentence in American style of English? What if it is a research paper? Example: Various technologies like Java, Microsoft, Unix, etc.?

Answer

Many non-native English authors face challenges while writing a research paper. In this short post, we will discuss a punctuation-related query many authors have.

"Etc." is used to indicate that only some of the items from a list have been used. Generally, in American English, if "etc." is used in the middle of a sentence, it is followed by a comma. (Tennis, soccer, baseball, etc., are outdoor games.) However, if this word appears at the end of a sentence then the period (which is part of "etc.") serves as the final punctuation mark. It should not be followed by a comma, whether it is daily writing or a research paper. (Being outdoors, we played tennis, soccer, baseball, etc.).

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