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.