Grammar tip: e.g. and i.e.

Here’s a quick grammar tip about something I see used and abused on the Internet on a regular basis: the terms e.g. and i.e.

Both are Latin terms (e.g. stands for “exempli gratia,” which means “for the sake of example”, while i.e means “id est” or “that is”).  You use e.g. when when you want to give examples of things, and i.e. when you want to clarify or rephrase a sentence.

For example, you might say “I like candy (e.g., Snickers and Kit Kats)” or “I like all candy (i.e., I eat pretty much anything on the candy aisle)”.

Here’s an amusing exchange from the film Get Shorty that might help you remember how to use the two:

Ray “Bones”: Which also means when I speak, I’m speakin’ for Jimmy. So e.g. as of now, you start affording me the proper respect.
Chili: ‘E.g.’ means ‘for example’, Ray. I think what you wanna say is ‘i.e.’
Ray “Bones”: Bullshit. E.g. is short for ‘ergo’.
Chili: Ask your man here.
Mob Guy: Best of my knowledge, e.g. means ‘for example.’
Ray “Bones”: E.g., i.e., fuck you. The point is, I say jump, you say okay. Okay?

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