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How to Pronounce ‘Etcetera’

People often pronounce etcetera with an X-sound, but it is actually pronounced with a T-sound.  

By
Mignon Fogarty

It’s pronounced “et-cetera,” (with a T sound) not “ex-cetera” (with an X sound). 

In fact, it comes from Latin and was originally written at two words: et and cetera, which translates to and the others. 

These days, it’s abbreviated etc., but what made me think of this topic is that in the old days, it was abbreviated with an ampersand followed by a C, with the ampersand representing the and part of and the others. That’s how it was written on the title page of the book The Doctor, Etc. that I mentioned in last week’s show because it has the original Goldilocks story. 

etcetera origin

Your quick and dirty tip is to remember to pronounce it with a T—etcetera—and when you see it written as &c, you know you are looking at a document that is probably at least 100 years old or a document that is trying to use old-fashioned language.

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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