E.G. or I.E. ?

orange brian

First, the short simple answers:

E.g. means “for example“.

I.e. means “that is”.  


They’re Latin…

E.g. is short for “exempli gratis,
which loosely translates to “for example“.
To reiterate – e.g. means “For Example”.


I.e. is an abbreviation of “id est” which
means “that is”.  So again – i.e. means
“That Is”..



Use e.g. when you’re listing just a few elements of a larger group.

  • Greta’s CD collection featured hundreds of groups (e.g., the Rolling Stones, The Who, and Abba).
  • There are many delicious non-meat options
    (e.g., hashed browns, peanutbutter, and coffee).
  • International Airports can be found near most big cities (e.g., Denver, Memphis, and Boston)…

So if  you think of e.g. as a “partial list” –
then think of i.e. as a “complete list”!


Use i.e. when you include all elements of a group.

  • Last Monday, we saw the four living former presidents; i.e. Carter, Bush Sr, Clinton, and Bush Jr.
  • The entire movie had only two actors;i.e. Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve.
  • Sue had autographs from all four of the Beatles; i.e. John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

You can use i.e.  instead of saying that is“.  Use i.e. where the first phrase specifically identifies some idea or event, or if it is identical to some other concept.

  • Lewis and Clark had assistance from their native american guide; i.e. Sacajawea. 
  • I’ll only call if there’s a problem; i.e. no news is good news.
  • Stewart embraced the Golden Rule;i.e. “Do unto others as he would have others do unto him.”
  • Robert Zimmerman is better known by his stage name; i.e. “Bob Dylan”.
  • My favorite place is the city in which I was born; i.e. St. Paul, Minnesota.

You can always use e.g. in place of the phrase “for example”.

The abbreviation i.e. can usually be substituted for the phrase, “in other words”, or “I refer to”, or “that is”.



For further reading, I highly recommend Quick and Dirty Tips   http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/ie-eg-oh-my.aspx


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