E.g. vs. I.e. What’s the Difference?

Ilustração mostrando a diferença entre "i.e." e "e.g." em abreviações latinas e seus significados em inglês para professores e alunos de inglês.


E.g. vs. i.e. are two abbreviations derived from Latin and used in written text. Understanding the nuances of these abbreviations, when to use them and what they mean is important for anyone learning or teaching English.

American English ESL Lesson Plan

When to Use E.g. and When to Use I.e.

Difference between E.g. and. I.e.





Use when you want to say “for example” or “such as,” followed by a list of one or more items.

In a text where, “that is” can be used for clarity or to help the reader understand the meaning of a term or phrase.

E.g. vs I.e.: What’s the Difference?

E.g. and i.e. are both abbreviations used to offer additional information or clarify things. However, these abbreviations cannot be used interchangeably. Here is the primary difference between e.g. and i.e.:

  • E.g. is used to provide a list of examples. It is typically used when you want to say, “for example.”
  • I.e. is used to clarify information. It is typically when you want to say, “that is.”

What Does “E.g.” Mean?

E.g. comes from the Latin phrase exempli gratia, and is used to mean “for example.” You can use this abbreviation in the following ways:

  • My school offers many outdoor sports (e.g., soccer, football, rugby, track) to students of all ages.
  • I’m thinking of going overseas after I graduate, e.g., France, Italy or Germany.

When you use e.g. in your writing, it’s important to remember:

  • To place a comma between list items (e.g., France, Italy, Germany)
  • To always use the lowercase abbreviation for both e.g. and i.e. unless they appear at the start of a sentence.
  • That you can use e.g. for one or more examples.
  • There is no need to italicize these abbreviations, although we have them in the examples to make it easier for you to read and understand.
  • You can use parenthesis or commas, but the requirement will depend on the style manual that you’re using.
  • Avoid using “etc.” in a list when using e.g. because it is implied that when you use e.g., it is providing an example and that there may be more than what is listed.

If you see an abbreviation you don’t know (e.g. or i.e.), it’s best to look up its meaning.

What Does “I.e.” Mean?

I.e. comes from the Latin phrase “id est.” Id est means “that is” and is frequently used to explain a term that may be new or unknown to the reader. Additionally, you may find this abbreviation used when the writer is trying to clarify a statement.

You’ll find i.e. used in written text, on websites online and anywhere you can read English. A few examples of this use are:

  • Marco was feeling under the weather (i.e., feeling sick), so he didn’t go to school today.
  • Research found greater social interaction (i.e., they were friendlier) between female lions when in captivity than with their male counterparts.
  • The tub in my home has odd yellow stains on it even after cleaning. The plumber told me the stains were due to hard water (i.e., high levels of dissolved magnesium and calcium).

You may find i.e. used with parentheses or brackets, but you can also use them with a comma or dash.

  • The hotel offers one meal - i.e., breakfast – for free daily.
  • The hotel offers a discount to seniors, i.e., 10% off their stay.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the difference between e.g. vs. i.e. is important because you cannot use these abbreviations interchangeably. Use i.e. to explain a term that may be unknown to a reader, and use e.g. when you want to provide the reader with a list of examples. Remember that you can place e.g. and i.e. in parentheses or brackets, or you may add them after a comma or dash when writing text.


Date: January 31st, 2023

Rob - author of the article   Rob

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