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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Et cetera, Re, and Sic - DailyWritingTips

Et cetera, Re, and Sic - DailyWritingTips

Posted: 07 Jan 2014 08:28 PM PST
When the Latin-loving educated classes finally started taking English seriously enough to write their works in, they brought a lot of Latin terms with them. Some of the terms remain in the language, among them et ceterare, and sic.
Et cetera
Commonly abbreviated etc., the Latin phrase et cetera is used at the end of a list to indicate things in addition to those already enumerated: When you go shopping, be sure to buy such staples as flour, rice, sugar, etc. In older texts, you may see it abbreviated as &c. The symbol &, called the ampersand, originated as a ligature for the Latin word et (and).
Note: In writing and printing, a ligature is two or more letters joined together to form one character, like the letters e+t.
Etc. is frequently misspelled as “ect” and mispronounced as [ek setera]. These errors can be avoided by noting that the first part of the phrase is et, not “ek.” The exact translation of et cetera is “and the others: et=and, cetera=the others.
Another Latin word commonly used in English is re. The Latin phrase “in re” means “in the matter of,” or “concerning.” Traditionally, the word has been written at the top of a letter, either in all caps or with an uppercase R and a lowercase e, followed by a colon:
Until recently, Re: was understood as a way to announce the subject of the message to follow:
Re: Your letter of May12, 2014
As is the case with many formerly familiar Latin expressions in English, the meaning of Re: has become blurred, and its use is shifting. Many web users believe that it is an abbreviation for regarding. Others use it in email subjects to mean “Reply.”
The Latin word sic in square brackets after a word in quoted material means that something in the quotation is in error. The writer quoting the material inserts [sic] to indicate that the misspelled word or inaccurate fact occurs in the original:
The most usual use of [sic] familiar to the general reader is its use to signal a misspelled or word: According to the document, “Every store on Main Street has the responsibility to provide it’s [sic] own parking.”
{Sic] is also used to signal an error of fact. For example:
Simpson says, “In Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, that the young Arthur draws Excalibur [sic] from the stone and is recognized as the rightful king.”

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