What’s the difference between e.g. and i.e.?

Yes, there is a difference. And, no, they’re not interchangeable.

E.g. is short for exempli gratia. Yes, it’s Latin and it means for example. So how is it used?

Try and visit some galleries when you’re in Paris e.g. (or for example) the Musee d’Orsay or the Louvre.

Use easy to read fonts on your website e.g. (or for example) Verdana

Remember: what follows an e.g. is an excerpt from a list or a larger chunk of information. So there’s no need to put an etc. at the end as well.

I.e. is short for id est and means that is or in other words. It’s used like this:

We’re going to run the same advertisement from last summer i.e. (or in other words) the one with the cat in it.

We’ll give you your usual discount i.e. (or in other words) 10%.

E.g. and i.e. always have full stops. And in the US a comma is often used after the abbreviation:

Use easy to read fonts on your website e.g., (or for example) Verdana

How do you remember which one to use? E.g.  means ‘EGsample’. And i.e. means ‘InEtherwords’. Yeah, yeah I know it’s a bit juvenile but, trust me, it works.

  • Robin
    Posted at 13:06h, 14 October Reply

    Classic school teacher tip : “E.g. means ‘EGsample’. And i.e. means ‘InEtherwords’.” You missed your calling.

    • Sarah Turner
      Posted at 13:16h, 14 October Reply

      Ha ha. You know what though? You’ll be writing something this afternoon and you’ll find yourself saying EEEGGGGsample. See if I’m not wrong!

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