I.E. vs. E.G.

i.e. versus e.g.

I.e. and e.g. are abbreviations people use to give more information about a topic. In this post you will learn what i.e. and e.g. mean, their Latin root words, and how to tell them apart using a mnemonic device.

i.e. = in other words

The abbreviation i.e. comes from the Latin words id est, which means that is. We use it to give more details about something and to clarify.

Example: Liza has only one hobby (i.e., bowling).

Here we say that Liza has only one hobby, and we clarify that her one hobby is bowling. We could also say: Liza has only one hobby, in other words, bowling.

Note that the explanation that comes after i.e. can be the only answer.

e.g. = example

The abbreviation e.g. comes from the Latin phrase exempli gratia, which means for the sake of example. We use it to give examples of something.

Example: Stacy saw many animals at the zoo, e.g., flamingos, giraffes, and unicorns.

Here we give examples of what animals Stacy saw at the zoo. She saw flamingos, giraffes, and unicorns, but those weren’t the only animals she saw. Those are examples of just some of the many animals she saw. Unlike with i.e., the explanation that comes after e.g. is only one or more of the possible answers.

Mnemonic Device

To remember what they mean, we’re going to say i.e. = in other words because they both start with the letter I, and e.g. = example because they both start with the letter E.

i.e. equals in other words; e.g. equals example

Quiz

Choose either i.e. or e.g. to fill in the spaces below. The answers are at the end.

  • The unicorn is skilled at hundreds of games, _____, poker, charades, and field hockey.
  • Unicorns are found in the wild in only one region, _____, the Philippines.
  • Unicorns can do many jobs (_____, accountant, glassblower, fitness coach, and talk show host).
  • Sal the unicorn has a favorite party trick (_____, blowing glitter from his horn).

 

Answers: 1) e.g. 2) i.e. 3) e.g. 4) i.e.

Erin Servais is a book editor, author coach, and owner of Dot and Dash LLC, an author-services company focused on helping women author-entrepreneurs reach their publishing goals. To learn more about how she can help you, no matter where you are on your writing adventure, check out her site: Dot and Dash LLC. There, you can also read her blog about writing: Dot and Dash blog.

Follow her on social media:
Twitter: @GrammarParty
Instagram: @dot_and_dash_llc
Facebook: facebook.com/dotanddashllc

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “I.E. vs. E.G.

  1. Thanks for clarifying i.e. versus e.g. I think I’ve been using them wrong for years.

    I don’t understand why we use i.e. in the first place. If something is the only example, why don’t we just say it directly?

    Instead of “Liza has only one hobby (i.e., bowling)” why not write “bowling is Liza’s only hobby.”

    or, instead of

    Unicorns are found in the wild in only one region, i.e., the Philippines. Why not this?

    Unicorns are only found in the wild in the Philippines. Thanks for your articles. I find them fascinating.

    Ellen

    • Hi, Ellen.

      Thanks for your comment. I actually don’t like using “i.e.” and “e.g.” It’s most often the case that a sentence is easier to understand by taking out “i.e.” and saying “for example” instead of “e.g.” So, I agree with you. At least now when you read them you can tell them apart, though.

      Erin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s