Don’t use Etc. in section headings, as in “Effect of Merger, Consolidation, Etc.” It conveys the impression that the drafter couldn’t be bothered to come up with a suitably all-encompassing heading. And it’s hardly informative.

Some drafters get quite carried away with using Etc. in headings. A UST Inc. credit agreement filed with the SEC on July 3, 2007, uses it in 23 different section headings.

And it goes without saying that you shouldn’t use etc. in the text of any provision. Here’s an example of a provision containing etc.:

Notwithstanding the foregoing, this Section 11.01(3) shall not preclude either Party from hiring any person employed by the other Party where such person independently responds to an employment opportunity broadcast by the Party to the general public (e.g., via newspaper, magazine, broadcast, Internet, etc.).

In this example, it so happens that the e.g.—a usage worthy of a blog post unto itself—renders the etc. superfluous.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

4 thoughts on ““Etc.””

  1. I know this post is a blast from the past but did you ever write that post on “e.g.”? Couldn’t find anything in the blog history or Manual of Style.

    • You’re right. Regarding e.g., don’t use it! And be careful about using for example, as any example you give could be used to limit the scope of the class in question.

  2. I see your point but on occasion it seems like nothing clarifies like a few examples. 13.264-13.290 is one of the most frustrating passages of the Manual because the courts seem to fly in the face of common sense (though I don’t know why that should surprise me). I know, I know, don’t shoot the messenger.

    • The question is, why are you offering examples? I suggest that nothing is gained by offering obvious examples of the class in question. And I think the caselaw makes sense. All that is discussed in my recent posts on including but not limited to.


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