Just as they do with the word espresso, people frequently — and incorrectly! — add an x to etc. when they say it. Spelling errors occur just as frequently.
- I like to add cinnamon, nutmeg, ect. to my coffee.
- They visited Japan, Thailand, China, ext.
The abbreviation etc. is from Latin, et cetera, which means “and the rest.” When you say it correctly, you actually pronounce the et of et cetera, just as Yul Brynner did in The King and I: “et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!” The problem is that so many people say it incorrectly as “ex cetera,” and those same people write it incorrectly as either ext. or ect. (ext., of course, is an abbreviation of extension).
MORE TO KNOW
Moving from speaking the t of et to the c of cetera is a small challenge because t and c are close together in the mouth; people go straight to ex cetera. The hard c and x are in the back of the throat, so the movement from there to the front of the mouth is easier, but still wrong. Finally, a note on punctuation: The period after etc. serves as the final period in a sentence when it comes at the end.