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Joe's Cafe, 24/7 pit stop for ESL learners and teachers | November 2008
Egg's off, bacon's off, bread's off, tea's off. English is on though.

e.g. or i.e. ?

People often confuse these two abbreviations.

e.g. means “for example”. (It comes from the Latin exempli gratia “for the sake of an example”.)

  • Some foods are good for us to eat (e.g. fruit, fish, vegetables). Other foods are bad, or should be eaten in moderation (e.g. fatty foods, foods with additives, sugary foods).

i.e. means “that is”. (It comes from the Latin id est “that is”.)

  • Not surprisingly, the closest planet to the sun (i.e. Mercury)  has the most extreme temperature variations in the solar system.

When we use e.g. we simply offer some examples or suggestions among many. When we use i.e. we say exactly what we are talking about.

Note that you will often see them written without full stops or periods, thus: eg and ie

Also note that “that is to say” means the same as “that is”.

Joe | Saturday, November 15th, 2008 | Filed under Vocabulary

66 Responses to “e.g. or i.e. ?”

  1. shzul says:

    add another knowledge,never thought what e.g or i.e. means,tq

  2. Alejandra Moliné says:

    thank you very much for the explanation!

  3. sandeep pareek says:

    i appreciate your efforts,thank you very much !

  4. Rubyolp says:

    I am studying many languages at a time, e.g. English, Thai, Spanish, French. Nonetheless, the language the most fluent for me is my country’s language, i.e. Thai!

  5. Ron Wiles says:

    I appreciate the access you provide to so many tools for us teachers of conversational English.

    Have you considered listing popular word abbreviations, e.g. ad, photo op, and math?

  6. Shashoo says:

    Thank so much, Now, I have a good idea about “e.g.” and “i.e”.

  7. roberto says:

    I have seen E.G. in texbooks many times, but wasnt sure about I.E. Thank you very much for the piece of information

  8. hegisanyi says:

    Just as “shzul” mentionet above, I would like to see more of these interesting things, too. Thanx

  9. Hidayet says:

    Yes, that’s interesting, I have been always thinking about these two abbreviations, especially (e.g.).
    In the french language (example; in french) is abbreviated according to the first letters (ex.) and that’s the case for other french words. (abbreviated by taking the first two or three letters).

  10. canan says:

    explanation is very clear and understandable thanks a lot

  11. Joe says:

    Rubyolp wrote:

    “I am studying many languages at a time, e.g. English, Thai, Spanish, French. Nonetheless, the language the most fluent for me is my country’s language, i.e. Thai!”

    Excellent example Rubyolp!

  12. Joe says:

    To Ron Wiles: thanks for the idea about listing popular word abbreviations! It’s a good one.

  13. Tanya says:

    To tell the truth I didn’t know the abbreviation “i.e”but now I now it, thank you very much. You always give us very useful information.

  14. Yani says:

    Very clear explanation. I have never known the difference between e.g. and i.e. until I read this explanation.

  15. Eduardo says:

    Thanks, I did not know the difference between this two initial until now.

  16. Imam Ma'arif says:

    Thank you so much, it will enlarge my vovabularys..

  17. jack says:

    Yes, this is good. An additional learning…

  18. Maqbool Ahmed Shahwani (Baloch) says:

    Thanks, i did now the origin of these words, until now. I appreciate your efforts for ever….. Hope it will continue. Thanks to all your team mates.
    Yours…..
    Maqbool Ahmed Shahwani (Baloch)

  19. Abdallah says:

    Thanks alot for this information .

  20. Dalton says:

    This information broadens my vocabulary. It is refreshing to know that these abbreviations make such a world of difference when they are applied correctly.

  21. AHMAD says:

    THANKS FOR THIS USEFUL INFORMATION

  22. alaaayman says:

    useful information!!!!!!
    thanks a lot

  23. alaaayman says:

    A friend of me or a friend of mine?

    Can you tell me?

  24. Mansur Musa says:

    i was a doubting thomas..until i read this article.you people are doing a good job,keep it up.

  25. alaaayman says:

    Is “my friend” a part of me or one of my possessions?

  26. Rose Pagnamitan says:

    I appreciate the explanation. I’m glad to have access to this site. :-)

  27. IGNACIA M. RAMOS says:

    I am very much thankful to Joe’s Cafe Blog Archive. Your explanation on the differences between e.g. and i.e. gives me more confidence to use e.g. and i.e. confidently in my communications.

  28. Alberto says:

    I’m very satisfied somebody (at last) explain me the difference between “i.e.” and “e.g.”
    Thank you very much!
    I hope to recive many others tips.

  29. kashif nadeem says:

    thanks for this useful information .it will enlarge my vocabulry

  30. Delilah says:

    I am already familiar with what ie means but with eg…. well now I know. Thank you. I really would like to learn more about such stuff.

  31. tranle says:

    thank you very much. I’ve know when I use “e.g” or “i.e”. I hope receive other information from club.

  32. Jafar pourfeiz says:

    I appreciate your explanation on these two abbreviations.I’m really interested in such stuff and I’d like to learn more.

  33. Silvia says:

    Thank you for the information. It helps me a lot. Hidayet says in French the first two letters are used (example: ex.). It is the same in Spanish. We also use the first two letters. (ejemplo: ej.)

  34. Noorullah Torakai says:

    Thank you very much from English Club!, i am really happy that we are getting suppport from English Club to lear English language, and to improve and developt our vocabulary.

  35. RANDY BARSIQ says:

    IT,S A VERY GOOD EXAMPLE .THANKS

  36. Deena says:

    Thanks the words was very clear and short.

  37. P.Ramachandra rao says:

    So long, I have using the abbreviations ‘e.g’ and ‘i.e’ without knowing the exact expansion.

    Now, I could understand the full form thereof.

    Thanks to English Club.

  38. Nelagston says:

    Thanks to add this vocabulary in my English lesson.
    e.g. i just know what does it means, it´s for example but i.e. i can´t guess the meaning.

  39. ibnu asqori pohan says:

    Your explanation is very clear. Thanks

  40. Joe says:

    Ron Wiles Says: Have you considered listing popular word abbreviations, e.g. ad, photo op, and math?

    EnglishClub.com now has a section rather like this at:
    http://www.englishclub.com/ref/Slang/Shortened_Words

  41. Natvar says:

    I am little knowledge fo E.G. but your explaination is very clear with example about E.G & I.G. I am waiting for your another tips.
    Thank you.

    I am playing lots of games, e.g. cricket, chess, Tennis, Swimming.

  42. Hyppolite says:

    English’s for me the very important language I want to know among others(e.g Spanish).The first one is very easy to learn(i.e English).That why I say now I know how to use e.g and i.e. Is V.I .P a english word or not?

  43. Magda Elhabbal says:

    really good and new information ,thanks alot

  44. samuel says:

    Thanks a lot for your explanation about e.g and i.e.

  45. Bhushan says:

    It’s wonderful …. even I don’t know unless I read it… so many things to learn like this…… thank you for revealing such things.

  46. mohanned says:

    Thank you for your valuable information , i was seen ie and eg multiple time on the books , but its the first time i know the different between them
    thankx alot

  47. Thesneem says:

    Do we always have to use “that” when we speak an indirect events.
    e.g he told me that he would come today
    or
    he told me he would come today
    I expect the correct usage from you.
    Thanks and kind regards
    Thesneem

  48. Joe says:

    Thesneem: native speakers commonly drop the “that”, especially in speaking, so you will hear both of the forms:

    He told me that he would come today.
    He told me he would come today.

    However, one should be careful. Dropping the “that” may be sloppy. Consider, eg:

    John said Mary lied.

    Which of the following does it mean?

    John said “Mary lied.”
    “John,” said Mary, “lied.”
    John said that Mary lied.

    Admittedly, intonation would assist, but in rapid speech confusions can arise.

    These forums are for discussion of such questions:
    http://www.englishclub.com/esl-forums/viewforum.php?f=199
    http://www.englishclub.com/esl-forums/viewforum.php?f=139

  49. Cristina says:

    For instance, has abbreviation ?
    It was very clear to me i..e / e.g.

  50. claubatista says:

    Thanks. ´’d always wondered about it, because I’ve heard that eg was example given. then sb told me this was not true.
    Now I know

  51. Joe says:

    Cristina Says: For instance, has abbreviation ?

    Christina: “for instance” really means the same as “for example”, but as far as I know there is no abbreviation for it.

  52. abdul gafoor says:

    i am very glad to get the full form of e.g and i.e
    thank you very much for the information given

  53. sinthuja says:

    i could understand difference between e.g and i.e

  54. Moses Mgeni says:

    I really appreciate your assistance; I was among many who confused the meaning of these two abbreviations.
    Thank you very much, As I said hope to harvest more from you.

  55. riasaduri says:

    wooww…It’s really a great time for sharing it. Ystrday my friend asked me what “g” stood for in e.g acronim. thus,I wanna to tell her boastedly

  56. rashid ahmed otho says:

    i m very thankful to English Club to give more information about e.g & i.e.

  57. Ade Rony Sutrisna says:

    Thank you for the information.

  58. sayed says:

    Thank you for the explanation

  59. vara says:

    Thank u english club for ur clear differentiation between e.g., and i.e.,

  60. Masi says:

    Thank you for your beneficial information

  61. Munir Khan says:

    Thank you English club for this great information it was realy un understandable works for me coz I have seen alot those words in news paper but I often ignore now I got the meaning.
    Thank you sooooooooooo much

  62. Amol Suresh Jati says:

    Its really an amaizing information. I have never ever thought about such abbreviations. Thank you very much for giving such a vital information.

  63. Teresa Thao Tran says:

    I got my 5th secret of learning english. Thanks so much ! Thanks. I do like it very much !

  64. baby says:

    thank you for sharing such kind of information with us. many people around me frequently say “ie” instead of for example. they also make a comment on it and they explain it as “in example” . and still go on using like that :((((

  65. Sardor says:

    Abbreviations are frequently used in our language. One pair of the commonest abbreviations is e.g & i.e.
    Thank EnglishClub for ACCURATE INFORMATION!!!

  66. Rahul Kumar Sharma says:

    Thanks a lot Sir, I already knew the meaning of these two words but Sir I didn’t know the full form and from where these words come.
    So long, I have using the abbreviations ‘e.g’ and ‘i.e’ without knowing the exact expansion.
    Now, I could understand the full form thereof.

    Thanks to English Club.

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