Thursday, August 27, 2009

i.e. vs. e.g. q.e.d.

there are a million articles explaining the difference between i.e. and e.g. but they still get used rather interchangeably.

so for the quick and dirty:

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

but they are never supposed to both work in the same spot

diving in deeper:

i.e. is an abbreviation for the latin id est which translates to "that is." that is to say it is redefining what was already said for clarification or in a fashion similar to a.k.a.

e.g. on the other hand is an abbreviation for the latin exempli gratia which translates to "for the sake of example" and is usually preceded by examples. for example, "i like fruit e.g. apples, bananas, etc."

there are several mnemonics for keeping these straight e.g. "'in other words' starts with and i like i.e. and 'example' starts with an e like e.g." and this seems to work well; i mentally replace each of these with the plain-english counterpart each time.

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