Difference between ie and eg

Key Difference: Both ‘ie’ and ‘eg’ are short forms, which are used to imply something else. ‘ie’ stands for ‘id est’ which is Latin, and translates into ‘in other words’ or ‘that is’ or ‘that is to say’. ‘eg’ stands for ‘exempli gratia’ which is again Latin, and translates into ‘for example’. ‘eg’ is primarily used to list example.

IEThere are many times when reading an article or a book, one would come across something such as ‘ie’ and/or ‘eg.’ It would be easy to dismiss them as typos but that is not the case. Firstly, they happen way too frequently to be a typo, and secondly the same typo cannot happen everywhere. Others may dismiss them as some colloquialism, as something people somewhere say, but it doesn’t really mean everything, such as ‘eh’. However, that is not the case either, both ‘ie’ and ‘eg’ have meanings, and they are used for particular reasons.

Both ‘ie’ and ‘eg’ are short forms, which are used to imply something else. In this case, it can be said that they are older examples of SMS slangs, similar to LOL or OMG. However, while LOL and OMG are fairly new, ‘ie’ and ‘eg’ are old, dating back to when Latin was still in use. So, it can be said that not that much has changed for humans; the Ancient Romans used short language slang just as much as today’s teenagers.

‘ie’ stands for ‘id est’ which is Latin, and translates into ‘in other words’ or ‘that is’ or ‘that is to say’. Basically, it is used to add more information to something that was previously listed or to clarify that something. For example, Mary has two journals, i.e. one blue and one red. Here the i.e. is used to give more information about the journals, which were mentioned before. ‘e.g’ can be used interchangeably with “specifically” or “namely.”

EG‘eg’ stands for ‘exempli gratia’ which is again Latin, and translates into ‘for example’. ‘eg’ is primarily used to list example. However, the examples listed are used in a way to try and elaborate on the topic. They must not be just any examples, they must add to the topic on hand, so that the reader understands a bit more about the topic by looking at the examples. For example: “The grocery store is stocked with a lot of products, e.g. eggs, bread, soap.” It is not necessary to list etc. at the end of an e.g. list, as e.g. already implies that only some examples are being lists, hence some are being omitted. Hence, etc. just becomes redundant.

It can now be seen that i.e. and e.g. are two completely different things and should be used as such. In short, ‘ie’ means ‘that is’, whereas ‘eg’ means ‘for example’. One handy way of remembering them is to note the ‘e’ in ‘eg’ can be ‘example’, whereas ie can also be translated as ‘in essence’, which basically means that is and is an alternate translation for ‘ie’. The ‘i’ in ‘ie’ can also be used for ‘in other words’.

Comparison between ie and eg:

 

ie

eg

Full Form

id est

exempli gratia

Stands for

In other words or That is

For example or for the sake of an example

Also written as

i.e.

i. e.

i. e.

e.g.

e. g.

Eg

e.g.

Etymology

From Latin i. e., an abbreviation of id est (“that is”).

A terser form of ex. gr., both abbreviating Latin exemplī grātiā (“for the sake of an example”).

Purpose

Used to explain, clarify or rephrase a statement

Used to add explanatory information or to state something in different words

Used to list examples and to elaborate on the topic by providing examples.

 

Reference: Wiktionary (i.e., e.g.), Oxford Dictionaries (i.e., e.g.),
American Journal Experts, Grammarly
Image Courtesy: Quora.com

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