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What is the difference between e.g. and i.e.?

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These two abbreviations are commonly used incorrectly by native and non-native speakers alike. While they are similar and both come from Latin roots, these words should not be used interchangeably.

E.g. comes from the Latin exempli gratia, meaning ‘for example’. It is used to give an example of what was just stated.

The restaurant serves all kinds of Italian food, e.g. pizza, pasta, a variety of desserts.

I.e.  comes from id est and means 'in other words'. It is used to explain an idea by rephrasing it.

The supermarket has a huge variety of products, i.e. you are certain to find something you will like.

Note: you may also see ex. which means “example”. Some people consider this to be incorrect, while others have accepted it as a replacement for e.g. If you are unsure, use e.g.


Now it’s your turn! Fill in the blank with either e.g. or i.e.

  • a. Malta offers a variety of cuisine, _____ Italian, French, traditional Maltese.

  • b. I really like studying in coffee shops (_____ Starbucks).

  • c. He moved to England in September, _____ three months ago.

  • d. Studying English abroad gives you all of the benefits of a vacation while also learning, _____ it’s perfect for everyone.