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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.

Short Shrift: Open the next podcast segment in a new tab to keep following along.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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