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Latin Abbreviations: The Seven 'Hells' of Rome

Rob Kyff on

Seven-up! Can you spot an error involving the use of the Latin abbreviations "e.g.," "etc.," "et al." or "i.e." in each of these seven sentences?

1) Committing a mistake when using Latin abbreviations is not one of the seven deadly sins, e.g., pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth, wrath.

2) Servius Tullius built fortifications on the seven hills of Rome, e.g., the Palatinus, the Capitolinus, the Quirinalis, etc.

3) According to Greek myth, Thebes was attacked by seven heroes, e.g., Adrastus, Polynices.

4) The seven seas (Arctic, Antarctic et. al.) were celebrated in a Rudyard Kipling poem.

5) The seven virtues are justice, temperance, charity and etc.

 

6) The Seven Dwarfs, i.e., Doc, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Happy and ... er, Fred, whistled while they worked. (I can never remember the seventh one; call me dopey.)

7) Seven out of seven experts insist that "etc." should always be pronounced as four syllables ("et-set-uhr-uh"), not as three syllables ("et-set-ruh").

Answers:

1. The abbreviation "e.g.," which stands for the Latin "exempli gratia," means "for example." So, it should never be used to precede a complete list of the items in a group.

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