When And How Should You Use i.e. & e.g. In A Sentence? | Writer’s Relief

by | Jul 7, 2011 | Grammar and Usage, Other Helpful Information, Proofreading, Punctuation, Uncategorized | 17 comments

Our Review Board Is Open!

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Deadline: Thursday, June 17th

[blocks-anywhere id=”bnm5b967d9956740″]

Updated 5/22/19

Have you seen or heard others use the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. and felt envious or bewildered?

At Writer’s Relief, we sympathize with your confusion! Many people have only a vague understanding of e.g. and i.e.—enough familiarity to gather what is meant by it, but not enough to use it confidently themselves. Read on for a simple, straightforward explanation that answers when and how to use the Latin abbreviations i.e. and e.g. in a sentence.

e.g. is an abbreviation of exempli gratia, which means “for example.”
Use e.g. before listing examples of the previous statement.
I write poetry and prose in my journals, but they also serve other purposes; e.g. calculating gratuity.

i.e. is an abbreviation of id est; translation: “that is.”
Use i.e. before clarifying or adding to the previous statement.
When I went on vacation last week, I brought my favorite writing journal; i.e., the one with the beaded cover.

Our preferred reference manual, i.e. Gregg Reference Manual, suggests:
“Use the abbreviated forms e.g. and i.e. only in informal, technical, or ‘expedient’ documents (such as business forms, catalogs, and routine e-mail messages, memos, and letters between business offices).”

NOTE: Do not italicize i.e. and e.g. Although they are abbreviations for Latin words, they are considered standard English because they’ve been in use for so long. Don’t leave out the periods though. Remember, they are abbreviations!Submit to Review Board

17 Comments

  1. Carol Macomber

    Very helpful reminder!

    Reply
  2. Will Rice

    Very Awesome!!! Thank you so much for this!!!

    Reply
  3. Pat

    Does the i.e., phrase have to end the sentence? Or what punctuation may I use to continue….?

    Reply
  4. Pat

    Does the i.e., phrase have to end the sentence? Or what punctuation may I use to continue….?

    “The planning documents; i.e., the FEIS, and earlier REAP’s – contain lists of prope…”

    forgot the example.

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      Hi Pat,

      It does not have to end the sentence, but it would be best to set it off by dashes at the beginning and end of the phrase.

      Reply
  5. Ben

    Why are we using these at all? I mean I like knowing where words came from and their often latin roots, but for the sake of limiting potentially perceived obfuscation, would it be that hard to type out “that is” and “for example” instead of using abbreviations to words from a dead language?

    Reply
  6. Emmy

    Why not just write: When I went on vacation last week, I brought my favorite writing journal,the one with the beaded cover.

    A simple comma is plain enough; no need for i.e. or e.g. in many constructions.

    “Such as” and “for example” are just as fine too.

    Reply
  7. Saniya Kunjeer

    Does this sentence use i.e in a right way?
    “But this is failing to address the overall cause of the problem, i.e that examiners persist in producing bad exams which don’t take into account the needs of the students taking them.”

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      Hi Saniya,

      The Chicago Manual of Style frowns on using i.e. in text, but, if you do, you would type i.e., not “i.e” and the 2nd period should be followed by a comma.

      Reply
  8. Jamee Lou

    A different perspective:
    As a court reporter and part-time proofreader of transcripts of the spoken word, it bears noting that that is at least one reason for why we are using these. The reality that a writer may be quoting an oral comment is cause enough to have some consistency in our practice.

    Anyway, thank you for this post!

    Reply
  9. Cynthia Curl

    Thank you, Ben. Forcing a reader to stop and translate your writing, however briefly, is RUDE! As a technical writer, I find far too little consideration for the reader in most writing,technical or not. Use “i.e.” and “e.g.” only in references, such as footnotes and endnotes.

    Reply
  10. Mike Gray

    Sometimes we become so critical of someone else’s written text that we tend to forget the basic, and important, purpose of the text. That purpose is for the text to accurately and completely convey information from one person to two or more other persons. If the information happens to be unambiguous and completely understandable by the recipients of that text, regardless of its technical accuracy, then its purpose has been fulfilled. True, as intelligent and caring beings, we would all prefer that our written text be technically correct and accurate, those attributes are not the only things which makes the text authentic and enjoyable to read.

    Reply
  11. David Newkirk

    Ben is correct. There is _no justification_ for using Latin abbreviations in English writing in 2018. It’s one of many obsolete conventions/habits that mindfulness can keep one from repeating, especially now that type is no longer set in lead a letter at a time.

    Likewise the pop-grammarian prohibition against splitting infinitives (example: “to boldly go”). That prohibition was based on the bizarre logic that since infinitives in Latin are single words, they should be kept as their contiguous two-word equivalents in English.

    Reply
  12. khaneh zaban

    Does the i.e., phrase have to end the sentence? Or what punctuation may I use to continue….?

    “The planning documents; i.e., the FEIS, and earlier REAP’s – contain lists of prope…”

    forgot the example.

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      Hi Khanen,

      There usually isn’t a comma after i.e. when it’s used in a sentence.

      Reply
  13. Rich Nelson

    Finally, got it!! I’ve developed a mnemonic device for memorizing the rules…..
    i.e. “in essence”
    e.g. “eg-zample”

    I have always thought both i.e. and e.g. used a semicolon, rather than a period as the last character (i.e. “i.e;” and “e.g;”

    big help, thanks.

    Reply
  14. Marcy E. Black

    I was looking for instruction on the correct way to use, i.e., and, e.g., in a sentence. I chose this article, and in the end, I had the answer to my question. That is until I read the comments. Then my question for grammatically correct abbreviations turned into what is grammatically moral instead. It’s not rude. It’s not about mindfulness, or translation, and, i.e., and, e.g., aren’t moral grammar issues. Abbrev, I’m rude, so let me translate that for you. Abbreviations are all about keeping things quick and easy.
    Dwight Bolinger, an emeritus professor of Romance languages and literature at Harvard University, wrote about pop-grammarians.
    “These seeming experts search for the particular errors -inept choice of words, arch genteelisms, marshmallow pomposities, dangling clauses – and try to offer social salvation by providing a list of do’s and don’t’s, as if language were a matter of etiquette.”
    Ain’t that, right?

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Review Board Deadline June 17th

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

 

 

Search

Reviews

“Getting that first poem published was the hardest threshold to cross. My team at Writer’s Relief kept encouraging me…then came the acceptance! We celebrated…then I continued writing, and Writer’s Relief continued doing the wonderful work they do!”

—King Grossman, Writer
(Watch King’s video testimonial here!)

“Every piece I have sent out with their help has been accepted for publication! I am looking forward to working with the team on getting my new novel out into the world.”

Services Catalog

Free Publishing Leads
and Tips!

Featured Articles

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Featured Video

Follow us!



YES, IT'S MY LUCKY DAY!
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000 acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link


STOP! BEFORE YOU GO...
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000 acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link
Live Chat Software

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This