Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Common Grammatical Errors Should You Use i.e. or e.g.

Common Grammatical Errors Should You Use i.e. or e.g. Do you know whether to use i.e. or e.g. in a sentence? What’s the difference? Unless you have studied Latin or the intricacies of the English language, you might be surprised to learn that the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. mean different things.  Many people use them interchangeably – and they are not, in fact, interchangeable. The Meaning of i.e. and e.g. e.g. means â€Å"for example† and comes from the Latin exempli gratia; whereas i.e. means â€Å"that is† and comes from the Latin id est. Grammar Girl has some great tricks to remember these definitions, as recounted in her article, How to Remember the Difference Between I.e. and E.g. She suggests thinking of â€Å"egg† for e.g., as in â€Å"eggsample† or just remembering that it starts with an e for â€Å"example.† For i.e. she suggests thinking â€Å"in essence† or just remembering that it starts with i for â€Å"in other words.† Examples of When to Use i.e. or e.g. i.e. e.g. There are 7 colors in the rainbow, i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. (Use i.e. when you are stating a complete list that is equivalent to what comes before the i.e.) There are 7 colors in the rainbow, e.g., red, orange and yellow. (Use e.g. when you are giving examples of the thing that comes before the e.g.) Sweets are her Achilles’ heel, i.e., her weak spot. (Use i.e. when you are defining the first part of the sentence in another way.) Sweets are her Achilles’ heel, e.g., she eats a pint of ice cream if it’s in front of her. (Use e.g. when you are giving an example of the first part of the sentence.) The soldier went AWOL, i.e., Absent Without Official Leave. (Use i.e. when you are explaining the definition.) Acronyms are words where each letter stands for a word, e.g., AWOL which means â€Å"Absent Without Official Leave.† (Use e.g. when giving an example.) Should i.e. or e.g. Be Italicized? There are a few things that grammar gurus do not agree upon.  One is whether i.e. and e.g. need to be italicized, as most Latin abbreviations are.  Most agree, however, that because these abbreviations are so common there is no need to italicize them. [Note:  I am italicizing i.e. and e.g. in sentences such as this as an alternative to using quotation marks; in my examples they are not italicized.] Should i.e. or e.g. Be Capitalized? There is disagreement as well as to whether i.e. and e.g. can ever be capitalized, i.e., I.e. or E.g.  I would capitalize them if they started a sentence, but not everyone says that’s acceptable. Should There Be a Comma After the Second Period in i.e. and e.g.? Once again, there is no agreement on this point.  Most sources but not all recommend a comma; in British English a comma is less often used. Technicalities aside, I recommend that you take a moment to think the next time you write an e.g. or i.e. in a document. You’re more likely to say what you mean. Are you working on a writing project and have questions about how to use i.e. vs. e.g.?  I’m happy to answer. For more grammar tips from The Essay Expert, sign up for my Grammar Writing Tips e-list.

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