Word Confusion: e.g. &. i.e.

Dear Copy Bitch: Can you settle an argument I’m having with my SO? What’s the difference between “ie” and “eg”?

–In Love in Indiana

Answer: Use “i.e.” when you mean “in other words” and use “e.g.” when you mean “for example” (think of the e in e.g. and the e in example to help you remember).

Examples:

1. If George Clooney were ever to speak to me, I’d probably get all supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (i.e., I’d sputter nonsense for lack of anything brilliant to say).

2. I love anything with chocolate (e.g., ice cream, cakes, pies, etc.).

Update: I caught Get Shorty on the telly the other day. Here’s a funny (NSFW) scene that demonstrates the i.e. vs. e.g. conundrum.

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