Barron of Blog Wife, Kids, and the Pursuit of Happiness

10Apr/060

Language Lesson: i.e. vs e.g.

It occurred to me a short while ago that I didn't know what the abbreviations "i.e." and "e.g." actually stood for. I have always read "e.g." as "for example," but if that were the case shouldn't the abbreviation be "ex." (as is also commonly seen)?

Come to think of it I didn't even know the difference between "i.e." and "e.g.". So, to benefit us all, here is what I have found:

i.e.
specifies and explains
Stands for "id est" (Latin), which translates to "that is". You should use it to give an explanation or deeper description of what you are writing.
"I love to watch Lost (i.e. the show on ABC about an island of survivors)."

e.g.
gives an example
Stands for "exempli gratia" (Latin), which translates to "for the sake of example". You should use it to give explicit examples.
"I love to watch television (e.g. Lost, Grey's Anatomy)."

And to think I didn't know this after two semesters of high school Latin with Mrs. England. Shame on me.

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