Regarding the use of the adverbs and difference between them.

Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 04:26 pm
My question is regarding the usage of the adverbs "et al" and "etc." and their meanings.

I have recently noticed that I have "perhaps" used the adverbs like "et al" often at wrong places. That is so because by the meaning of the adverb "et al" I used to think "and others". E.g. "it includes WSJ, Times, Economist et al". I was half sure about its usage there. I thought the adverb "etc." can also come there, but I went by the adverb "et al"; thinking that "and others" would be more appropriate. My confusion regarding them increased when I decided to see the "thorough" meaning of the adverb "et al" . From what I have inferred , not sure correctly, is that the adverb "et al" is used mostly with name nouns like Smith, John etc. E.g. "Snoopy, Charlie Brown et al get a new owner"

So, now please explain three things to me. What is the difference between the adverbs "etc." and "et al"? Where should they(et al, etc.) be used? And where can they be used? Thirdly, did I correctly used the adverb "et al" in my e.g.?

PS: Sorry for a bit long-winded post. I wanted to explain my case clearly to get a good explanation . I can't speak succinctly as I don't command over the language. Smile

Regards and thanks for reading and answering. Smile
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Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 04:30 pm
Well, first off, they aren't adverbs. They're Latin abbreviations. Et al. is an abbreviation for et alii, meaning "and others". Etc. is an abbreviation for et cetera, meaning "and the rest".

I've seen them used pretty much interchangeably although et al. seems to only be plural whereas etc. seems to go both singular and plural.

I'm sure someone with more English or Latin knowledge will come along and correct me. Smile
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 04:49 pm
Well, I called them adverbs because I read one dictionary calling them so Smile. It's not my creation. Thanks for your reply. Appreciate it Smile. Waiting for some more reply, specially from ESL folks.
Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2010 05:24 pm
Jespah is rather reliable.
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Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 12:49 am
Et al is a shortening of et alii (masculine), et aliae (feminine) or et alia (neuter) (all plural) which are adverbs meaning "and others". It is used to complete a list, especially of people, for example in academic references where a list of names would occupy too much space.

Etc is an abbreviation for et cetera which can be used either as a noun, meaning "additional unspecified odds and ends; more of the same", or an adverb, where it means "and so on; and so forth" or "continuing in the same way".

One can find this information in plenty of dictionaries, on paper or the web.

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Reply Wed 11 Aug, 2010 10:55 am
What I could have said more clearly is that we use et al to stand for the remainder of a list which has a known and definite number of items, and we use etc or et cetera to stand for an unspecified number of things.

I have read the report by Jones et al. (I have read the report by Jones and a number of other (known) people.)

The garden is covered with rubbish: dead leaves, cigarette butts, beer bottles etc. (The garden is covered with the things I have mentioned and other things I cannot be bothered/am unable to list.)
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