I.E. and E.G.

To understand how to use i.e. and e.g. correctly, it helps to know what they mean.

  • I.e. is the Latin abbreviation for “id est,” which means “that is.”
  • E.g. is the Latin abbreviation for “exempli gratia,” which means “for example.”

So, the simple way to remember it is that i.e. is used when you rename something or further clarify what you just said.

I juked them out of their shoes (i.e., I cut back and forth so quickly that they couldn’t catch me).

On the other hand, e.g. is used when you’re giving an example of what you mean.

He scored more ways than I thought possible (e.g., kicking the ball into the hoop).

Another quick tip is that you should always put a comma before and after both abbreviations—unless you put them in parentheses, as I did above. In that case, you just need a comma after the abbreviation.

And if you really want to avoid the whole mess, just use the English equivalents. There’s no shame in shunning the Latin.


4 thoughts on “I.E. and E.G.

  1. quick question I’ve had trouble understanding–the difference between when to use “into” and “in to.” Got any easy ways of breaking it down? Thanks!

    • There actually is a way to distinguish between the two fairly easily. Into as a preposition typically tells “where.”

      Where did they go? They went into the house.

      There are a few other uses as well, such as addressing issues of time or being involved in something.

      The storm lasted into the night.
      He’s just completely into her.

      If in and to just happen to be next to each other, you can usually replace the to (mentally) with in order to. (It would be cumbersome to really write it that way.) In these cases, the in actually belongs to the verb.

      Sam slept in to make up for a late night. [Sam slept in in order to make up for last night.]

      Hope this helps.

  2. Pingback: Writing as an Identity - Nathan Bransford

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