For eggsamle, tomatoes

Do you know what "id est" and "exempli gratia" mean? These are the two terms frequently mixed up when abbreviated: i.e. and e.g. But how can we remember the difference?

i.e. is short for "id est" and means "that is", "in other words", "namely", "meaning". It restates an expression or word more clearly or offers more information.

  • The warranty includes e-mail support during office hours, i.e., between 9.00 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Tip: If you can replace i.e. with "in other words", your sentence should be correct.

e.g. is short for "exempli gratia" and means "for example". It introduces one or more examples that illustrate what was said before.

  • We recommend easy-to-use fonts for your website, e.g., Verdana and Georgia.

Tip: e.g. implies that you offer a partial list by example. "etc" at the end of the list is therefore unnecessary.

If you have problems remembering the difference between i.e. and e.g., you can use a mnemonic. I like the tips offered by Mignon Fogarty, the grammar girl:*

  • i.e. begins with i >> I= In other words
  • e.g. begins with e >> E= example

If that does not do it for you, you could use another simple mnemonic: the essence and the egg.

  • i.e. = in essence
  • e.g. = eggsample

In technical writing, we favor the English expressions "that is" and "for example". They are easy to read and cannot be misunderstood.

Punctuation

i.e. and e.g. are always preceded by a comma (or sometimes set off with brackets or hyphens). Most American style guides recommend that they are followed by a comma. British English usually omits the following comma.

  • I prefer red vegetables, e.g.[,] tomatoes.
  • I prefer red vegetables (e.g.[,] tomatoes) but cucumbers too.
  • I prefer red vegetables ─ e.g.[,] tomatoes ─ but like cucumbers as well.

We favor the recommendations of American style guides and let a comma follow.

  • I prefer red vegetables, e.g., tomatoes.
  • I prefer red vegetable, for example, tomatoes.

This blog article was inspired by a video with the editor Peter Sukolowski who speaks about the most searched abbreviations at the Merriam Webster online dictionary: e.g. and i.e.

* http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/ie-versus-eg

Blog

tcworld 2018: What's New with iiRDS?

iiRDS was one of the central topics at the tcworld conference 2018: at the new iiRDS Café, in lectures, showcases, and tutorials. There was also a discussion on Twitter, among other things about the name, which is so difficult to pronounce. more ...

tcworld 2018 part 3: Creative online videos for technical documentation

Clear the stage! At the beginning of his workshop "Creating thrilling online videos", Stephan Schneider showed two pictures. more ...

tcworld 2018 part 2: Virtual and actual highlights

The sun is shining brightly as I arrive for my first tekom. Inside, the conference is already in full swing. Two days of presentations, workshops, fair impressions and conversations await. more ...

tcworld 2018 part 1: Legal Requirements vs Readability

At this year's tcworld conference, there were a lot of discussions about standards and regulations for technical documentation. Experts such as Jens-Uwe Heuer-James and Torsten Gruchmann came together for a panel discussion where the following was repeatedly said: "We need an IEC 82079-1!" more ...

Working in self-organizing teams. Or: how we get rid of management

Today's world is VUCA : volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Companies are facing complex challenges such as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. Those who do not respond fast, may be driven out of the market. more ...
  • linkedin
  • xing