“i.e.” or “e.g.”? What’s the difference?

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A couple of weeks back, my husband asked me to write a post about the difference between i.e. and e.g. because it can be confusing among many people.

This confusion is also common among native English speakers!

Do you use i.e. and e.g. in writing? Or do you avoid using them altogether because you’re afraid you’ll use them wrongly?

If so, let me help clear up this common confusion for you.

I.e. and e.g. are both Latin abbreviations. Yep, they’re not even English.

I.e. stands for id est and means “in other words.” It can be used interchangeably with the words “specifically” or “namely.”

E.g. stands for exempli gratia and means “for example.”

Now, I have to admit that I often use e.g. but I rarely use i.e. This is because I share a lot of examples in my writing, so the abbreviated form of “for example” comes in handy.

However, when it comes to being specific, I prefer to use the word “specifically” or “namely.” It’s just easier for me that way.

In our live session yesterday, I talked about the differences between i.e. and e.g. and how to write them correctly.

You can watch the replay of the live session here.

You can also listen to this session on SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

So the next time you’re writing a report, an academic paper, or any other important piece of writing, you’ll not only know when to use i.e. and e.g., but also how to use them correctly.

Do you want to speak English with confidence?

Sign up to join our free video training, Speaking with Confidence. We’ll send you seven tips to your email address!

Here’s Tip 1 for a sneak peek of what’s in store for you.

Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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