Defining I.e. and E.g
I.e. and e.g. are both abbreviations derived from Latin. They are often used in more technical, non-fiction texts but are also used in fictional texts as well. I.e. is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase id est, which translates to “that is.” It is used to indicate that an explanation is about to follow. On the other hand, e.g is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia, which translates to “for the sake of example.”
Remembering the Difference Between I.e. and E.g.
One way to remember the difference between i.e. and e.g. is to imagine that i.e. is an abbreviation for “in essence,” whereas e.g. sounds amusingly like “egg sample.”
When to Use I.e.
Since i.e. means “that is,” “in essence,” or “in other words,” writers use it to introduce a further point of clarification or to restate an idea more clearly for readers.
- Many full-time employees are expected to put in a forty-hour work week, i.e., to work eight hours Monday through Friday.
- After school, I walked over to the new coffee shop, i.e., Stumptown Roasters.
Since the writer utilized i.e., readers understand that he/she is restating an idea more clearly or providing more specific information.
When to Use E.g.
In comparison, since e.g. means “for example,” writers use it to introduce examples to help clarify an idea.
- He enjoyed eating stone fruits, e.g., plums, peaches, and cherries.
- She was a school champion of many athletic teams (e.g., volleyball, softball, and track).
Since the writer utilized e.g., readers understand that he/she has provided a list of several examples to further clarify a topic.
How to Use I.e. and E.g.
- There is a range of acceptable methods to use when incorporating i.e. and e.g. into writing.
- Do not italicize i.e and e.g.. Although they are abbreviations derived from Latin words, they are considered to be a part of Standard English.
- Be sure to add periods after each of the letters because they are abbreviations.
- Always place a comma before and after i.e. and e.g.
- Example: He reads a variety of literary genres, e.g., science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, myth.
- Choice of using parentheses or brackets around i.e or e.g.
Example: He reads a variety of literary genres (e.g., science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, myth).