Ever wonder whether to use ‘i.e.’ or to use ‘e.g.’ in a technical document or even an email or blogging? I have. So I thought I’d post this to help anyone else who may have wanted to know the distinction between i.e. and e.g.


Here is the proper use of  i.e. (‘that is’) versus e.g. (‘for example’):

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I.e.‘ (id est, ‘that is’) precedes a statement of amplification or explanation.

Examples of usage:

“Reboot the computer (i.e., press the Control, Alt, and Delete keys simultaneously).”
So ‘i.e.’ technically means ‘that is’ and is used like ‘for instance’, or giving an explanation.

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E.g.(exempli gratia, ‘for example’) precedes a specific example or examples.

Examples of usage:

“Several groups attended, e.g., the church association, the PTA, and the teachers’ union.”

So ‘e.g.’ technically means ‘for example’ but is used like providing a list of 2 or more examples.

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In many contexts, to avoid confusion, the long version use of ‘for example or ‘for instance’ can replace the abbreviated ‘e.g.’ or ‘i.e.’.

In reality many people interchange these abbreviations without really knowing that they are different, so now you can be one of the people using them correctly.