Eg vs ie – Learn The Difference

by Vincent — September 27th, 2020

eg vs ieThese two terms cause a lot of confusion. So, it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference between the two. 

e.g.” is an abbreviation for “exempli gratia”, a Latin phrase. “i.e.” is a also an abbreviation for the Latin phrase “id est” 

Because they both serve similar purposes, these terms are often confused – even by native English speakers. So, how to tell the difference between them? In this IELTS Grammar 101, we’ll give you some tips on telling them apart. 

  • Difference between e.g. and i.e. 
  • Synonyms of e.g. and i.e. 
  • Use e.g. and i.e. in a sentence 

Click each topic to learn more about the differences between e.g. and i.e. 

e.g. and i.e.: the definitions
  • An abbreviation for the Latin phrase “exempli gratia”, which means “for example”. 
  • An abbreviation for the Latin phrase “id est”, which means “that is”. It is used before giving a more detailed explanation about the aforementioned topic. 
e.g. and i.e.: the synonyms
  • Could also mean (synonyms): for example 
  • Synonyms include: that is 
e.g. and i.e.: in a sentence
  • You should look at gaming consoles, e.g. Nintendo, Xbox or PlayStation
  • There are different options to help you save money, e.g. savings accounts, term deposits, investments, etc. 
  • There are multiple colours to choose from, e.g. pink, purple, green, blue, etc. 
  • Most people chose songs from popular artists, e.g. Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift 
  • The theme park is closed during Winter, i.e. from June to August 
  • The club enforces a strict dress code, i.e. no thongs, derogatory clothing, etc. 
  • The applicant must provide proof of education (i.e. University transcripts) when applying for this role. 
  • Tomorrow morning, I’ll drive to our meetup point, i.e. Hyde Park 


Read more about this on the Merriam-Webster dictionary site.

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Read the transcript of this video

Welcome to ask the editor. I am Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large at Merriam-Webster. The most looked up abbreviations in our online dictionary are i.e. and e.g. probably for the simple reason that the are so often confused for one another. Both of these are abbreviations of Latin expressions. I.e. stands for id est, which means “that is” in Latin. It introduces a rewording or clarification of a statement that has just been made. Or of a word that has just been used. Such as, the cough may last for a short period of time – ie. three to five days. Eg. stands for exampli gratia in Latin which means “for example.” It introduces one or more examples that illustrate something stated, such as: Submit an example of academic writing, eg. a dissertation chapter. Because their usage seems similar, these abbreviations are often confused. Just remeber that i.e. and “that is” both share an “i”. And, that example and e.g. both share an “e”.


You can also try substituting the English for the abbreviation: The cough may last for a short period of time – that is, three to five days. Or, submit a sample of academic writing – for example, a dissertation chapter. Even though English is a Germanic language, we owe a huge debt to Latin. You don’t need an MD or have any PhD on your CV to see that English has borrowed pounds of words from Latin. We use Latin day and night, a.m. and p.m. And, without it, we’d have to say R-I-P to huge swathes of English. PS. Latin isn’t the only language to have an impact on English. There is French, Spanish, Arabic, Greek, et cetera. But, Latin is foundational, Q-E-D.

Want to learn more about commonly confused words? 

In written English, it is important to know the correct spelling of a word you want to use. You don’t want to write “weak” when you mean “week” even though they sound the same. In spoken English, spelling is less important, but pronunciation is. Think about the word “lead” which can be pronounced as “led” or “leed.” Because these words cause a lot of confusion, it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference: homophones vs homographs vs homonyms. Read more here. 

People often use elude when they mean allude, or write allude when they should really write elude. There are other commonly confused words too: Do you know the difference between belief or believe? That is the question of another article where we explain the difference between these two commonly misused words. Read it here. 


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