Lat’s talk abbreviations

Here is a couple of really confusing abbreviations that are very commonly used: i.e. and e.g.

The reason they are so confusing is that they abbreviation are not of English words but of their Latin equivalent.  And few of us regularly use our Latin and stay current – this makes it tricky.

So what do theses letters mean?

i.e. stands for id est which translates into that is or in other words

we had great sushi, e.g. toro, sake and unagi, pic: © Kitsen |

e.g. stands for exempli gratia which means for example

Now the trick is to use the right two9 letters in any given context.  The difference in use can be somewhat subtle.  Here are a couple of examples, that might make it easier to understand the difference.

i.e. specifies and clarifies something, fleshes out something that has already been stated.  Here is an example:

“I am going to go shopping now, i.e. I am first going to the bookstore, then to the electronics store and at the end I’ll go to the supermarket to get groceries. ”

e.g. indicates that you are about to give a few examples implying that the examples you give are only a partial list  Here is an example.   We will have a great selection of food for the BBQ e.g. hamburgers, salads, ice-cream, hotdogs 9and many other things).

I put and many other things in paraenthesis because you can say that but in reality it is implied anyway.


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