Two abbreviations that are easy to confuse

Maria Murnane

Maria Murnane

Best-selling Author of the Waverly Bryson Series, and 2015 International Book Award Winner

Do you know the difference between e.g. and i.e.? If your answer is no, or that you think you do but you’re not sure, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick refresher on how to use them correctly.

E.g. means for example:

  • There are many things to do on this island, e.g., snorkeling, sailing, and scuba diving. (CORRECT)
  •  There are many things to do on this island, for example, snorkeling, sailing, and scuba diving. (CORRECT)
  •  I have many friends who love grammar as much as I do, e.g., Gloria, Alison, and Peggy. (CORRECT)
  •  I have many friends who love grammar as much as I do, for example, Gloria, Alison, and Peggy. (CORRECT)

I.e. means that is:

  • Kathy’s three favorite hobbies, i.e., snorkeling, sailing, and scuba diving, can all be done on this island. (CORRECT)
  •  Kathy’s three favorite hobbies, that is, snorkeling, sailing, and scuba diving, can all be done on this island. (CORRECT)
  •  The place Gloria calls her second home, i.e., her office, is in Oakland. (CORRECT)
  •  The place Gloria calls her second home, that is, her office, is in Oakland. (CORRECT)

When I hear people get tripped up, it’s almost always by using i.e. when they should be using e.g., and rarely the other way around. For example:

  •  The dessert menu was full of yummy options, i.e., chocolate cake and pudding.(INCORRECT)
  •  The dessert menu was full of yummy options, e.g., chocolate cake and pudding. (CORRECT)
  •  She gave us a long list of color choices, i.e., pink, yellow, and blue. (INCORRECT)
  •  She gave us a long list of color choices, e.g., pink, yellow, and blue. (CORRECT)

If you’re still confused, use this trick: e.g. looks like egg, and egg sounds like the beginning of example. That should help!



This blog post originally appeared on Reprinted with permission. © 2018 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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