23 Comments

  1. Yes, because people know what i.e. means but not what e.g. means (or they think they mean the same thing).

    Using e.g. in speech sounds like you’re trying too hard to sound erudite.

  2. I don’t think I use either when speaking, and I never noticed anyone else doing so. “That is” is just as easy to say as “i.e.”; “for example” is longer than “e.g.” but the shortening doesn’t seem worthwhile (to me).

  3. Probably. I use both; I strongly suspect most people use neither; I suspect more people use “i.e.” than “e.g.”, and B,A,’s comment that we are almost certainly non-representative is probably accurate and relevant.

  4. I’ve never been clear why people confuse them. The mnemonics, i.e., the letter/sound pattern I use to remember which is which, is pretty easy to suss out.

    “Eye Eee” looks like “in eh-ther words” and “e.g.” Looks like “egg-zample.”

    The error that I do understand is that there should always be a comma, e.g., this use here.

  5. –B.A. You sign up for one at Gravatar. (Then use the same name when posting on Word Press.)

    –I shared most of a mnemonic with CloonBounty — I used to internally say “egg-zample given” for “e.g.”.

    –Speaking of printing the closing comma, when typing on a phone virtual keyboard, before even getting to the comma, I am wrestling with the auto-respell which has been capitalizing the second letter of the abbreviation — it comes after a period, so must be starting a new sentence, the dumb thing thinks.

    –I was just noticing in an audiobook, the reader substituted “that is” for “i.e.”. That’s also what we were taught to do at Recording for the Blind.

  6. Well, I always say “for example” whenever I wish to use e.g. Of course, I used to say “id est” when I meant “i.e.” although I think lately I usually say “i.e.” (which is not that often).

    But why say “e.g.” when a perfectly acceptable “for example” is available.

    Actually come to think of it; I usually simply say “that is to say” for “i.e.”.

  7. “I’ve never been clear why people confuse them. The mnemonics, i.e., the letter/sound pattern I use to remember which is which, is pretty easy to suss out.”

    It’ easy if one hadn’t been taught them to derive from context and assume they are more or less the same.

  8. My mnemonic for “i.e.” vs” “e.g.” is that “id est” is Latin for “that is”, and “e.g.” stands for “exempli gratia” in Latin.

    … not sure if that REALLY counts as an mnemonic, but it works.

  9. I’d think the comma is optional if you think of i.e. as “that is to say” and e.g. as “for example consider.”

  10. Shrug, if one writes out “for example” and then follows it with an example, there is a comma. For example, the comma I put in this sentence.

    Mitch4, modern style guides have been overrun with hippies and communists. They want to kill the serial comma as well.

  11. I sometimes use “viz.” but I don’t know whether I should pronounce it “vizz” or “videlicet” or “wee-delicate”.

  12. “Same with “N.B.””

    I’ve never in my life said “N.B”. I always say “Note bene”….

    but then I always say P.S and never Post-script (unless I’m refering to the actual noun, as in “That letter had a postcript”.

  13. The serial comma is actually making a comeback. When I was an advertising proofreader in the 1980s, it was never used, and, in fact, corrected if it appeared. I was told no serial comma was a “more modern style.” Now, people are realizing that it’s sometimes necessary, and I constantly see defenses of it.

  14. A long long time ago, I worked for a company that did surveys for outside clients (I know, I know, horribly obnoxious job). Clients would always specify that all abbreviations should be read in full, but they wouldn’t realize how often they used “e.g.” when writing their surveys. Surveyors saying “exempla gratia” all the time was extremely aggravating to many people, and generally resulted in a lot of half-finished surveys.

  15. There are definitely cases where the comma is wrong, for example, in this sentence.

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