I.e. and e.g. are two different abbreviations that many writers get confused, but, once you understand what each abbreviation means, they aren’t difficult to manage at all.
In this post, we will go through the differences between the two, mention a few ways to keep track of their meanings, and discuss the proper ways to punctuate them in sentences. After reading this article, you won’t ever mix up i.e. vs. e.g. again.
The abbreviation e.g. is derived from the Latin words exempli gratia. The abbreviation i.e. is also derived from a Latin expression id est.
The term exempli gratia means for example in English language.
I like citrus fruits e.g., oranges, lemons, grapefruits.
The Latin term id est means that is in English language.
This coat is made up of synthetic materials i.e., not leather or suede.
It’s early, and factors beyond anyone’s control (e.g. the euro, Iran) could impact the race. [Washington Post]
The Harvard report compared “professional” reviewers (ie those working for newspapers and magazines) with their new competition. [Guardian]
Prohibition of illegal substances (e.g. LSD or MDMA) has also prevented very important clinical research from continuing. [Sydney Morning Herald]
In 2005, America had the lowest personal savings rate since 1933. In fact it was outright negative — i.e., consumers spent more money than they made. [Chicago Tribune]
[T]he announcement … was so intoxicating to the world’s sci-fi geeks (e.g. me) that they’ve been gearing themselves up for a work of genius. [Independent]
The bulk – ie, about $3b – of new spending priorities announced today are reallocations of money from other uses. [Stuff.co.nz]
E.g. or i.e.:
Should I use e.g. or i.e.? Well, that depends on the context of your sentence of course. I.e. means “that is.” A good way to remember this is by remembering i.e. as “In Essence” or “In other words.” E.g. means “for example.” A good way to remember e.g. is to think of it as meaning “Example Given” or by simply remembering that it means “Example,” which also starts with an “E.” Always remember to put periods after each letter to indicate that they are abbreviations in your writing.