What do i.e. and e.g. mean?

Ask the wise old owl

Wise Old Owl

What do i.e. and e.g. mean?

These come up from time to time in English Writing and it’s important to remember that they don’t mean the same thing.

I.e. stands for id est in Latin, but most people don’t know that! It’s a way of giving further information about your point. If you didn’t want to use it, you could say “in other words”, or “that is”.

Are you planning a conference? We can take care of the organisation for you, i.e. finding and booking the venue, organising the catering and ensuring that you have everything you need on the day. These are the things that the company will organise.

Applications must be received by the end of the week, i.e. no later than 17:00 on Friday 4th May. This gives further information so that people know precisely when the deadline will be.

E.g. stands for exempli gratia in Latin and it’s used when you want to give examples to support your point.

I like flavoured chocolate, e.g. coffee chocolate, strawberry chocolate and mango chocolate. These are not the only flavours of chocolate that I like, but I have given you a few examples in case you want to give me chocolate!

Guests at the hotel have access to a number of facilities, e.g. a spa, a gym and an excellent restaurant. There may be others, but the hotel chose to highlight these three to give guests an idea of what’s available.

So, if you’re giving examples, use e.g. and if you’re giving further information to explain a point that you’ve already made, use i.e.

More articles in this series

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