Grammar 101: i.e. and e.g.

Last Update: June 20, 2022

Grammar 101: i.e. and e.g.

Previously:

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/phil1944/blog/feeling-youre-...

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/phil1944/blog/grammar-101-it...

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/phil1944/blog/grammar-101-yo...

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/phil1944/blog/grammar-101-th...

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/phil1944/blog/grammar-101-tw...

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/phil1944/blog/grammar-101-lo...

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/phil1944/blog/grammar-101-ad...

A Few Simple Rules Are All You Need

There's no doubt that, in its entirety, English grammar is complex, especially for someone learning English as a second language.

But...

If you're a native English speaker and just want to avoid common grammatical errors in your writing (such as blog posts on your website) there are only a handful of rules that you need to memorize.

So this series of posts is for those who'd like to ditch the Grammarly crutch and just know what's right and what's not.

Here's the seventh one:

i.e. (that is) and e.g. (for example)

These two are frequently confused, and it's all because of the mistaken belief that "i.e." stands for "in example".

It doesn't.

They are both derived from Latin.

I.E.

"i.e." stands for "id est", which means "that is".

It's used to restate something said previously in order to clarify its meaning. A similar expression is "in other words" so if you can substitute that for "i.e." where you've used it, you're on the right track.

"She invoked the Fifth Amendment, i.e., the right to refuse to answer a question on the grounds that it might incriminate me" is an example of correct usage. The part after the i.e. is a restatement of what the Fifth Amendment is, in order to clarify its meaning.

E.G.

"e.g.", on the other hand, stands for "exempli gratia", which means "for example".

It is always followed by one or more examples of the previous phrase. The examples don't have to be exhaustive. They can be one or several.

"Citrus fruits (e.g., oranges, lemons and grapefruit) are an excellent source of vitamin C" is an example of correct usage.

Another, highlighting a single example, would be "A strong primary color, e.g., red, will make your website stand out.

A Useful Aid to Memory

"Is" starts with "I" so "i.e." stands for "that IS".

"Example" starts with "E" so "e.g." stands for "for EXAMPLE".

One More Thing

Because they are abbreviations, each of the two letters should be followed by a full stop, as used throughout this article, along with a comma separating them from the following phrase. Again, see the previous part of this article for correct usage.

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RosanaHart Premium Plus
Yeow! I'm surprised at so many thanks and practically nobody knowing this, i.e., what have they been reading all their lives?

I suppose one could remember i.e. from;
Old MacDonald had a farm
E-i-e-i-o

...though admittedly that is a bit awkward and could lead to other errors.

I guess I just learned these two, and many of your other examples, when I was in third grade or so, back in the days when things I learned stuck in my brain automatically.

As for e.g., that begs for an egg example. Let's see:
I like a high-protein breakfast, e.g., scrambled eggs or ham and eggs.
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phil1944 Premium
Very funny, Rosana (the egg example, I mean). This stuff hasn't been taught in schools for a while. Or at least, there was a long period where it wasn't.
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RosanaHart Premium Plus
Aha! I hadn't thought the schools would be so remiss.
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phil1944 Premium
Part of the problem is that the teachers themselves went to school when the prevailing theory was that you didn't teach grammar, syntax, spelling or punctuation as it negatively impacted "creativity".
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RosanaHart Premium Plus
Gee whizzz I mised out on creativity thennn!
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RoweM1 Premium
I'm guilty as charged Phil... but I'm aware i.e. stands for "that is" but not very clear how to properly use it in some of my posts on my website I've used it but it appears that I'm giving an example.

Again, a handy tip...and I better update my posts lol
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phil1944 Premium
Glad to help, Rowe.
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ValerieJoy Premium Plus
Hi Phil, this might be a little out of place in this particular post. However, as you are helping members to manage without Grammarly, I wondered if you could give advice on how not to use Passive Voice incorrectly! I find it difficult to not use Passive Voice. Grammarly does not let me get away with this bad practice and it wastes so much of my time attempting to get it right!
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phil1944 Premium
I think if you imagine yourself talking to someone and either explaining something or instructing them on how to do something, you automatically use active voice.

Mind, passive voice isn't intrinsically wrong, it's just that too much of it can put the reader to sleep!
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ValerieJoy Premium Plus
Ideally, I will have to mend my ways! I must not put my readers to sleep. That would never do!!

Thanks for your help, Phil.
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phil1944 Premium
You're welcome, Val.
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JeffreyBrown Premium Plus
Nicely laid out, Phil! I never knew this! Thank you!

Jeff
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phil1944 Premium
Great. Thanks for the comment, Jeff.
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JeffreyBrown Premium Plus
You're very welcome, Phil!
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mz1989 Premium
Thanks Phil
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phil1944 Premium
You're welcome, Matt.
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