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Why ‘i.e.’ & ‘e.g.’ Are Different

If you do a lot of reading, you have probably come across the Latin terms i.e. and e.g. Many people mistakenly assume that these two abbreviations mean exactly the same thing. This is definitely not the case and we’ll explain to you the difference between them.

 

I.E.

I.E. is a Latin term that means “that is.” It’s an abbreviation for the Latin words “id est.” You can use “i.e.” instead of “it/that is” or “in other words.” This term is used to specify or clarify certain information.

An easy way to remember what this Latin abbreviation means is to think of it as “in effect.” You always follow “i.e.” with a restatement of an earlier fact that provides additional information.

 

“I love visiting my favourite place in the afternoons, i.e., the park near my home.”

“Tears flowed freely when they heard the news, i.e., they were heartbroken.”

 

These sentences advise the reader that you will be providing more information about the information stated in the beginning of the information.

 

E.G.

E.G. is also a Latin term that means “for example.” The word is derived from the Latin expression “exempli gratia” which translates as “for the sake of an example” or “by grace of example.”

You normally use this abbreviation when you want to indicate an expression like “including” but you don’t want to list all the items you will be discussing. You always follow “e.g.” with a specific example.

 

“Some of my favourite places, e.g., the park near my home, allow me to completely relax.”

“I enjoy many different hobbies, e.g., playing tennis, travelling and writing.”

 

In these two examples, you are using the term “e.g.” to replace the words “for example.”

Don’t be afraid to use these two Latin terms in your writing, as long as you remember what they actually mean!