Were you ever reading and came across these two abbreviations and wondered what the heck they mean? E.g. and i.e. are Latin abbreviations and mean “for example” and “in other words” respectively.

They are often mistakenly used as interchangeable terms. Let’s break down their differences and get into the nitty-gritty of what every student to professional should know about these two terms.

What Does E.g. Mean?

E.g. is short for exempli gratia, a Latin phrase meaning “for the sake of example.” Again, it’s used to say “for example.” E.g. is used when you want to introduce one or more examples. You do not need to list every possibility. Rather, it’s used to suggest a few examples and not an exhaustive list. It can also be used to say that you’re seeing or listing one or more possibilities.

Here are a few examples of e.g.

  1. She needed to buy her groceries (e.g., eggs, milk, and juice) for the month.
  2. The city is looking to invest in more forms of sustainable energy (e.g., solar and wind) for the year.

E.g. is written in lowercase when used in the middle of a sentence like the examples above. You also do not need to italicize them.

What Does I.e. mean?

I.e. is the abbreviated form of id est. It also has Latin origins and means “in other words.” In contrast to e.g., i.e. clarifies information or narrows possibilities rather than giving more.

Here are a few examples using i.e.

  1. She is going to a concert held at the new arena, i.e., Citydome.
  2. He is thinking of going to the restaurant (i.e., MTA) next week with his family.
  3. I enjoy playing these card games, i.e., bridge and crazy eights.

As you can see, i.e., gives a specific example and clarifies where she’s going and which restaurant he is thinking of going to. Additionally, because I used i.e. in the third sentence instead of e.g., those card games are the only ones I enjoy.

More Examples Of E.g. and I.e.

To recap, e.g. is used to give one or more examples. I.e. is giving more precise information. Below are some sample sentences that compare e.g. and i.e.

You are thinking of going outside the country (e.g., New Zealand or Switzerland) for vacation.
You are thinking of going outside the country (i.e., New Zealand) for vacation.

In the first example, you are thinking of visiting New Zealand or Switzerland for vacation. In the second example, New Zealand is the exact place you are thinking of visiting.