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How to Write e.g. (Examples and Worksheet)

If you thought Latin was a language of the past—think again! Learn how to use e.g. in writing, understand its meaning, and a whole lot more.

If you thought Latin was a language of the past—think again! Learn how to use e.g. in writing, understand its meaning, and more.



What does e.g. mean?

The abbreviation e.g. means “for example,” and offers a short and easy way to write ‘for example’. This makes it clear to the reader that an example is being provided in the following sentences. E.g. stands for the Latin words exempli gratia, which translates to “for the sake of example.”

When to use e.g. in writing or text?

Hopefully it goes without being explicitly stated that we write (or say the words) ‘for example,’ whenever introducing an example (to make it crystal clear to the reader that this is what we are about to do in the following sentences.)

Likewise, you would use e.g. in writing to introduce an example, or a few examples. See a couple examples of the exempli gratia, in action:

Should that happen to poor, as-yet unaffected places (e.g., most of South Asia and Africa) the suffering can be great.—“WHO rejects calls to move Olympics over Zika fears”

There’s a common view that Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘30-minute city’ is yet another slight variation on the many terms we already have for a more sustainable urban form e.g., a compact city, walkable city, smart growth, new urbanism, urban consolidation.—“Is Turnbull’s ’30-minute city’ a serious election issue?”

What’s the difference between e.g. and i.e.?

I.e. stands for the Latin words id est. This translates to “in other words” or “that is to say”: “That is (to say)” in the sense of “that means” and “which means”, or “in other words”, “namely”, or sometimes “in this case”, depending on the context. (Wikipedia)

A trick to remember the difference!

Here’s a quick trick to remember the difference in meaning between e.g. and i.e.:

E.g. = Example

I.e. = In essence

In other words, for e.g. think ‘E’ = example. For i.e., think ‘in essence,’ which works as a synonym for ‘in other words,’ or ‘that is to say.’

How to correctly write e.g. and i.e.

Are e.g. and i.e. written in capital letters or lowercase? Do they use commas or italics? And what about periods? Let’s address these questions in turn:

Lowercase or not?

When writing either abbreviation, i.e., or e.g., they should be in lowercase letters. Use lowercase letters when writing i.e. or e.g.

Italics or not?

When the Latin words are fully spelled out, it should be stylized in italics. Abbreviations, however, do not need to be italicized. Do not italicize e.g. or i.e. in writing, unless you are writing out the full Latin words (in which case, this is no longer the abbreviated form, and so requires italicizing.) It’s generally not advised to write out the full Latin phrase, unless it’s relevant for some reason (as in the context it’s written in here, for example, ha-ha.)

Periods or not?

Periods are used in abbreviations to indicate that the words are indeed abbreviations. Yes, use periods after both of the individual letters in i.e. and e.g.

Commas or not?

Most American style guides recommend including a comma after i.e. or e.g. British style does not. If you’re American, include a comma after i.e. or e.g. in writing. Otherwise, it’s okay to omit the periods.

How to use e.g. in sentences and text

Take a look at the following sentences that show the correct way to use e.g.:

1. Let’s look at some important dates in American history—e.g., July 4, 1776.

2. I collect the works of many poets (e.g., Dickinson, Frost, Angelou).

3. If you’re worried about a house full of dog hair, remember there are many non-shedding breeds—e.g., silky terriers, Basenjis, and Lhasa apsos.

4. I’ve got no food restrictions, but some things I’d sooner not eat, e.g., oysters.

5. The most applauded moments were her soliloquies—e.g., at the end of Scene 1.

How to use i.e. in sentences and text

Take a look at the following sentences that show the correct way to use i.e.:

1. Our son’s adorable pound puppy is my favorite breed —i.e., a mutt!

2. The critics called the performance “scintillating” and “dazzling”—i.e., they loved it.

3. There’s only one way I don’t like my potatoes prepared, i.e., boiled.

4. They spent their last day at camp enjoying their two favorite activities, i.e., swimming and zip-lining.

5. Our writers do a lot of research to avoid anachronisms—i.e., those errors that confuse the times of our stories with later times in history.

In review: how to use e.g.

E.g. stands for the Latin words exempli gratia, which directly translates to “for the sake of an example.” E.g. is used in writing and text to introduce an example, or few examples in a list.

The e.g. abbreviation is completely different from i.e., which is also Latin and stands for id est. I.e. means “in other words” or “that is to say”, and is included in writing when the following information is meant to elaborate or clarify whatever was previously mentioned.



‍Keep learning!

Sources

  1. Etymology of e.g
  2. Sentence examples of e.g.
  3. I.e.
  4. Wikipedia on i.e.
  5. “WHO rejects calls to move Olympics over Zika fears”
  6. Sentence examples of i.e. and e.g.


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