Admit it or not:
It is a matter of fact that all of us get confused with how to use e.g. or i.e.
Sometimes people do not know at all the difference. Then there are those who confuse e.g. with i.e. or vice versa.
As a matter of fact, both of them are very close to each other, and in certain situations, they might even be interchangeable, but there is a clear line of distinction.
The good part is that unlike many other this vs. that, these two are not very difficult to understand.
There is a clear concept behind each of them and in this blog post, I am going to show you how to differ one from another. In this blog post, you will see why e.g. is not the same as i.e.
Here is everything that you need to know about e.g. and i.e.
- E.g. means ‘for example’, so when you use this Latin abbreviation you actually go for something that is an example of what you were trying to explain.
1. Latin Abbreviations
If you try and still cannot make sense of e.g. and i.e. (you cannot tell what they are short of) this is not your fault.
Victorian age English is largely based on Latin rules of grammar and Latin abbreviations.
E.g. stands for ‘example gratia’ and i.e. means ‘id est’.
I understand that you cannot make crap out of it. It is because these are Latin words and not English words.
English is a language that is largely based on Latin. However, here are the meanings of these two terms.
Example Gratia – This means ‘for example’. In order to remember which one means what, you just have to remember that the ‘e’ in e.g. represents ‘example’. This will help you quickly get to the conclusion that e.g. is = to ‘for example’.
Id Est – This means ‘in other words’. If you want to make it easy to remember this one just tattoo on your mind that ‘i’ in i.e. represents ‘in (other words)’, and this will make you recall the whole phrase and its usage.
2. How to Use Comma with I.e. and E.g.
Before we jump to the examples of who you should use these Latin abbreviations, it is better to have a look at how you should use both irrespective of the difference.
A major difference between scholars is in terms of comma.
In Chicago style, Blue Book style and as per many guides such as The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, one must add comma after the use of e.g. or i.e.
Fowler’s Modern English Usage disagrees and makes its case against the use of comma after i.e. Yet, it is indifferent to the use of comma after e.g.
It is safe to assume that as long as your piece of writing is not academic and as long as you prefer descriptive (conversational) grammar to the prescriptive Latin (bookish) grammar, you can always skip comma after i.e. and even after e.g.
In case of academic writing, you better go with the majority’s opinion (and use comma after both).
As a second thought, since these abbreviations are Latin, you might prefer to use them in Latin way and put a comma after both: e.g. and i.e.
3. How to Use I.e. and E.g.
Here are the most awaited examples of how you should use e.g. and i.e. with 100% confidence.
E.g. means ‘for example’. Here are some examples of how you should use e.g.
- When you come to our city make sure to visit some of the best restaurants, e.g. Bamonte’s, Los Tacos No. 1 and Shuko etc.
- There are many grammar and language checking tools on the internet, but only few are worth trying, e.g. Grammarly, WhiteSmoke and ProWritingAid etc.
- Natalie loves to watch Hollywood movies; I’ve watched many epic classics at her home, e.g. The Shawshank Redemption, As Good as It Gets and Godfather.
I.e. means ‘in other words’. Here are some examples of how you should use i.e.
- When I’m done with my rough and tiring working routine, I love to have my favorite beverage, i.e. tea.
- His boss told her that he could not afford to pay her the same salary and wanted her to rethink the contract, i.e. lesser salary from new fiscal year.
- Hey, how are you? Still working? Ok, tell me when you get off and we will go to our favorite place i.e. Rushmore Lake.
4. Difference Between E.g. and I.e.
The difference between e.g. and i.e. is not only in terms of meaning; the difference is bigger than you can grasp.
E.g. means ‘for example’, so when you use this Latin abbreviation you actually go for something that is an example of what you were trying to explain.
In most of the cases you use more than one word. For example, consider the sentences that I’ve lined up to explain how to use e.g.
All of them end on two to three examples.
Let us consider i.e. Whenever we use it, it is used mostly for one word. I like dry fruits i.e. walnut.
You can use two words as well, but the point that I am trying to make is that the focus of e.g. is broad and that of i.e. is narrow.
When you use i.e. you are referring to something that you exactly want or going to do or talking about, but in case of e.g. the scope is bigger. You can talk about more than one options.
5. Word of Caution
Although we have discussed the point of putting a comma in the end or not to, it is important to let you know a few important points that will help you deal with these abbreviations:
- Yes, these abbreviations are from Latin language and they were incorporated into English, but never Italicize
- Since they are abbreviations, you should always use a period (.) after each alphabet.
- American spelling checker software would always warn you to not use a comma after each of them, but remember, as I have explained earlier, if you are writing a research paper or any academic document, you must put the comma because this is what most of the academic referencing style guides suggest.
So folks this is it about e.g. and i.e.
I bet that for a second you would still confuse one with another, whenever you would read or hear this from someone, but the ‘e’ and ‘i’ hint will help you to immediately understand how they are used.