I.e. Versus E.g.

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Grammar Tip: I.e. Versus E.g.

I rarely use these abbreviations, so when I do, I have to look them up for clarity. Many people often use i.e. not realizing there is a difference between the two.

  • I.e. means in other words. It comes from the Latin term id est (“that is”). The items following this abbreviation offer clarification. Example: I love having my favorite, fresh-cut flowers (i.e., lilies and roses) displayed throughout the house. Because I used i.e., you know that lilies and roses are my only favorite flowers.
  • E.g. means example. It comes from the Latin term exempli gratia (“for example”). The list that follows e.g. is only a sampling of the possibilities. Example: I edit corporate communications materials (e.g., websites, blog posts and brochures). Since I used e.g., you know this is only a partial list, an example, of the types of projects I edit. Obviously, I edit many other types of projects that are not included in that list.

Of course when it is time to use these abbreviations in your writing, it is difficult to remember which one is which. Mignon Fogarty offers this excellent memory trick in her Grammar Girl podcast entitled “I.e. Versus E.g.”[1] In other words starts with an i, so does i.e. Example starts with an e as does e.g. You can use this memory trick to help you remember which abbreviation to use. Also, remember these abbreviations require a period after each letter and are followed by a comma.

[1] Fogarty, Mignon. I.e. Versus E.g.” Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, Podcast-audio. October 20, 2016


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