Friday, December 16, 2011

The difference between i.e. and e.g.


The abbreviation i.e. (i.e., that is) is often confused with other abbreviations (e.g., e.g.). The i.e. generally is used to introduce matter that is explanatory as opposed to being the name of an example or list of examples. If you can say for example as a substitute for the abbreviation, you want to use e.g., not i.e. Do not italicize or underline these abbreviations. Most sources recommend avoiding the use of Latin abbreviations except within parenthetical notes and some sources say not to use Latin abbreviations at all (use the English terms instead) except within citations or reference lists. Good advice.

The Chicago Manual of Style recommends using a comma after i.e. or e.g. in order to set off those abbreviations as introductory modifiers. Other resources say not to bother with the comma, but the comma makes good sense.

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