How do you know when it’s e.g. vs i.e.?

Is it e.g. or i.e.? What’s the difference?

They are quite similar, but not interchangeable.

i.e. stands for “id est” in Latin, which means “that is”.

You can remember this by saying it looks a bit like “in essence” in English, although this is not actually what the abbreviation stands for.

You use i.e. to clarify the first half of your sentence.

e.g. stands for “exempli gratia” in Latin, which means “for example”.

You can remember this by saying it looks like “example given” in English, although again, this is not actually what the abbreviation stands for.

You use it to provide an example for a statement you make in your sentence.

Bonus note: You don’t need any extra punctuation after them – no extra comma, full stop, or dash (not “e.g.,”).

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Example sentences: How to use i.e. and e.g. right

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has had many impacts on the life of the average office worker in Australia, e.g. working from home, seeing family and friends less, and changing childcare arrangements.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a “novel” virus, i.e. it has not previously emerged in a significant way or been studied.

Do not do this – how to use i.e. and e.g. wrong:

I hate being stuck at home due to things like pandemics, i.e. the coronavirus.

>>> You are stating an example of “things like” so it should be “e.g.”

But being stuck at home gives me time to work on mindfulness and self-care, e.g. my mental health.

>>> In essence, the first half of your sentence was talking about your mental health, so this is a clarification not an example, and should be “i.e.”.

(C) TJ Withers-Ryan, 2022. Please credit me when you repost, thanks!

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