Is it i.e. or e.g. ?

Ever wondered if you’re supposed to use “i.e.” or “e.g.”? I used to not always get it straight until I figured out a simple way to remember.

First, you need to know what i.e. and e.g. mean:

  • i.e. = in other words
  • e.g. = for example

So here’s my way to remember which to use — it’s silly, but works:

  • “in other words” starts with “i” so use “i.e.”
  • “for example” can be lazily sounded as “for eggs-ample” which has a “g” sound so use “e.g.”

Yes, silly, but accurate.

Hat tip to Steve Rubel’s Twitter feed for the link.

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  • If you want to get technical, go to the Latin.

    The abbreviation i.e. stands for “id est”, which means, “that is”.

    The abbreviation e.g. stands for “exempli grati”, which means “for the sake of the example”.

  • rob

    @Jack : yeah, that’s why I don’t want to get technical! Remembering the Latin is harder. 🙂

  • I’ll admit that you way is pretty easy!