Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Know your Latin: i.e. vs. e.g.(level B1+)

How would you feel if you got a text message that ended in SWAK? Many of the parents who took a quiz on texting acronyms weren’t sure what it meant. While some teenagers may laugh a little at the older generation’s inability to master texting lingo, the truth is that many of them would be hard-pressed to explain the difference between i.e. and e.g. Here’s what everyone from student to professional writer needs to know about these meaningful letters. 
E.g. is short for exempli gratia, a Latin phrase which means “for the sake of example.” You would use it to introduce one or more examples. Don’t worry about listing every possibility; e.g. is used to introduce a few examples, not a complete list. In general, you add a comma after e.g. and between each subsequent example if there are more than one. If you want your examples set apart from rest of the sentence, you can enclose e.g. and your examples in parentheses. Would you like to see e.g. in action? 
“Should that happen to poor, as-yet unaffected places (e.g., most of South Asia and Africa) the suffering can be great,” it added. —“WHO rejects calls to move Olympics over Zika fears
There’s a common view that Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘30-minute city’ is yet another slight variation on the many terms we already have for a more sustainable urban form e.g. compact city, walkable city, smart growth, new urbanism, urban consolidation. —“Is Turnbull’s ’30-minute city’ a serious election issue?”
What about i.e.? A lot of people confuse this expression with e.g. I.e. also comes from Latin; it stands for id est, which translates to English as “that is to say” or “in other words.” Some people remember this by associating the I of i.e. with the I of “in other words,” or by imagining that the I and E stand for “in essence.” 
[What privilege] would allow them to refuse to answer investigators’ questions? Only one: the Fifth Amendment privilege—i.e., the refusal to answer on the grounds that truthful responses might be incriminating. — “How to Read the IG Report
What’s the difference between i.e. and e.g.? E.g. is used to give one or more possible examples. I.e clarifies; you are providing more precise information. Compare these two examples:
After work, I’ll walk over to that new sports, i.e., Thunderdome.
After work, I’ll walk over to a sports arena, e.g., Thunderdome or Victory Court.
In the first example, you are clarifying that Thunderdome is the exact arena that you will visit. In the second example, you will visit Thunderdome, Victory Court, or any other sports arena. 
Now you have a response if a teen teases you about your lack of texting expertise. You can ask her to tell you the words behind some abbreviations that you understand (e.g., id est). FYI (i.e., for your information), SWAK means “sealed with a kiss.”



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