“Etc.”

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.