For grammar time today, we’re going to explain the difference between “e.g.” and “i.e.” Because they both introduce parenthetical explanations, they’re easy to mix up.
The phrase “e.g.” stands for the Latin term exempli gratia, which means “for example.” Only use this abbreviation for a direct replacement of “for example.” Take a look:
For the Christmas party, we were thinking of serving savory snacks (e.g., potato chips, popcorn, and cheese).
The phrase “i.e.” stands for the Latin term id est, which means “that is.” Use this to further explain or clarify the preceding phrase—not to give an example. Another way to think of using i.e. is to use it when the phrase “in other words” is applicable. Take a look:
The president of the company (i.e., Willy Wonka) will be attending today’s meeting.
In this sentence, Willy Wonka isn’t an example of the president of the company—he is the president of the company. So the parenthetical element is further explaining who the first subject of the sentence is rather than giving an example.
Capitalization and Punctuation
Both e.g. and i.e. should be lowercase and followed by a comma, like in the examples above.