i.e. vs e.g.

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in Back to basics

Latin, eh? Nobody speaks it these days yet we use it all the time.

Two perfect examples are i.e. and e.g. We use them all the time – and sometimes we prove that we don’t speak Latin because we use them wrongly or interchangeably.

So, here’s my guide to i.e. and e.g. so you can check you’re using them correctly.

i.e. is short for ‘id est’, which means ‘that is’. You use it when you want to clarify something you’ve just said. For example:

I was running around in ever decreasing circles, i.e. I was very busy

e.g. is short for ‘exempli gratia’ means ‘for example’. You use it when you want to give an example to explain something you’ve just said. For example (or e.g.):

Some things should never be worn together, e.g. socks and sandals

If you want to check you’re using the right Latin phrase, simply try swapping it for its English translation:

I was running around in ever decreasing circles, that is I was very busy

or

Some things should never be worn together, for example socks and sandals

I hope that’s helped!

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