Skip to main content

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between e.g. and i.e. with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

The abbreviations of i.e. and e.g. are often used in written and spoken language, but what's the difference between these two abbreviated Latin phrases? One is used to show examples, while the other gives further elaboration, but it's not uncommon to find them misused.

(6 Reasons to Read Translated Literature.)

So let's look at the differences between e.g. and i.e. and when to use each.

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

E.G. vs. I.E.

E.g. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase exempli gratia, which itself means "for example." This abbreviation is used in language to take the place of that phrase for the sake of concision (i.e., four characters for "e.g." instead of 11, including the space, for "for example").

(20 Homophone Examples for Writers.)

I.e., on the other hand, is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase id est, which itself equates to the phrase "that is" or "in other words." Again, this abbreviation is used in language to take the place of that phrase for the sake of concision (e.g., using e.g. instead of "for example").

Make sense?

Here are a few examples of e.g. and i.e.:

Correct: Joey wanted some hot food, e.g., soup or a stew.
Incorrect: Joey wanted some hot food, i.e., soup or a stew.

Correct: Joey wanted some hot food, i.e., food with a hot temperature.
Incorrect: Joey wanted some hot food, e.g., food with a hot temperature.

For many writers, this may feel like splitting hairs, because I know people who may say they think it's OK to use "that is" in the first incorrect example and "for example" in the second incorrect example. And it's true that many people would probably be able to figure out what was meant, but both instances would still be incorrect.

There's a pretty simple trick for keeping these terms straight: Take the "e" in "e.g." to remember the phrase "for 'e'xample;" and use the "i" in "i.e." to remember the phrase "'i'n other words" or "that 'i's." That's all there is to it.

*****

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 26 requires a second thought.

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

Here are 12 books released in 2022 that make perfect gifts this holiday season for the reader in your life.

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Rigorous research, incorporating  authentic dialogue, and adding details from true-to-life moments, author Deborah Larkin shares how she wrote a nonfiction crime story in a literary style.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 25 gets serious.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Deal

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Make a Deal

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character make a deal.

5 Rules of Ethical Journalism

5 Rules of Ethical Journalism

Alison Hill shares five rules of ethical journalism and shines a light on why more and more people may be growing weary of journalism and journalists.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 24 considers what it's all for.

12 Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Cookbook

12 Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Cookbook

Cookbook author Deanna Martinez-Bey shares 12 pros and cons of self-publishing your cookbook to help you make the best choice for you and your manuscript.

Chloe Liese: On Changing Character Dynamics in Romance

Chloe Liese: On Changing Character Dynamics in Romance

Author Chloe Liese discusses the classic Shakespeare play that inspired her new romance novel, Two Wrongs Make a Right.