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Writing Tip of the Month
November 2018

Using e.g. and i.e.

Deciding whether to use e.g. or i.e. can create issues for some writers. How do you know which of these Latin abbreviations to use?

The abbreviation e.g. is short for exempli grati and means “for example” and is used to introduce examples. The term i.e. is an abbreviated form of id est and means “that is.” It is used to clarify a statement. Here are some examples of these uses:

  1. Our Thanksgiving feast was a smorgasbord of family favorites (e.g., broccoli casserole, fresh cranberry sauce, and sweet potato casserole).
  2. Katelyn is well skilled at a number of sports, e.g., tennis, basketball, and golf.
  3. When Tom makes important presentations he likes to wear his good luck charm (i.e., a royal blue tie with gold stars).
  4. We tried to warn Donald about the repercussions of his ongoing misstatements, i.e. he could be fired.


Note that most style guides recommend using a comma after e.g. and i.e. Also, e.g. and the list of items that follow it and i.e. and the clarification after it can be included within parentheses, as in sentences 1 and 3, or can follow a comma, as in sentences 2 and 4.

Other options

Using these Latin abbreviations is not the only way to include examples or to clarify a statement:

  1. Our Thanksgiving feast was a smorgasbord of family favorites, including broccoli casserole, fresh cranberry sauce, and sweet potato casserole.
  2. Katelyn is well skilled at a number of sports: tennis, basketball, golf, and more.
  3. When Tom makes important presentations he likes to wear his good luck charm, a royal blue tie with gold stars.
  4. We tried to warn Donald about the repercussions of his ongoing misstatements: he could be fired.

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