We see them often in the text, usually in parentheses, and we can almost always deduce the context of the text that precedes them, but what do those words mean? The abbreviation for “for example” in English refers to the Latin exempli gratia, which means “for example” or “as an example.” The abbreviation used for “is to say” in English refers to the Latin phrase id est, which means “to say” or “in other words.” When we write, we often use these terms to emphasize a point by using examples (for example) or by stating the point in a different way without a long explanation (that is). Some confuse the two terms and use them incorrectly. The following will provide you with some helpful tips and examples. The differences As indicated above, the abbreviation for “for example” in English is e.g. The easiest way to remember this is that it starts with “e” and also the word “example”. Here are some sentences using “for example”: “There are many types of trees (eg, spruce, oak, maple) in the study area.” “There were several breeds of horse (eg, Thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, Paints) at the barn where we conducted our study on West Nile Virus.” Note that by providing some names as an example, we imply that there are many more than these three trees or these three horse breeds. If these three trees or horse breeds were the only ones in those settings, the sentences would be read instead: “There are many spruce, oak, and maple trees in the study area.” “There are Thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, and Paints at the barn where we conducted our study on West Nile Virus.”
Remembering the abbreviation for “that is” in English (i.e.) is just as easy. It begins with an “i” and the same happens with the first word that composes it, in English: “in other words” (in other words). Here are some examples of the use of “ie”: “After work, I’m going to try the new restaurant (i.e., All About Pasta) to decide on a venue for the reception.” “To buy the car that I really want (i.e., a Tesla), I will have to work a lot of overtime.” It may also help you to remember the differences if you think of the two figures in this way: “for example” provides examples, thus tending to increase the number of options, while “ie” provides clarification or precise information, so That tends to reduce the number of options. Punctuation and style The correct punctuation of abbreviations in English is also important. For these two abbreviations, the punctuation is quite simple, although there are some exceptions (as noted). Some of the punctuation rules for these two abbreviations in English are as follows: Use lower case letters unless they are at the beginning of a sentence (very rare), in which case only capitalize the first letter.
It would be better not to use an abbreviation to start a sentence. Instead, write the abbreviated phrase, such as “for example” or “that is,” to start the sentence. Place a period after each letter. Place a comma after the second period (note: in British English, no commas are used). Do not italicize even abbreviated Latin terms; however, note that some author guidelines specify that all foreign words and phrases must be italicized. In scientific writing, we often see phrases like “in vitro” in italics as well as these abbreviations. Be sure to review their guidelines. Place the phrase in parentheses or within the sentence.
This is a matter of the preferred style. Most scientific writings place phrases within parentheses, and the Chicago Manual of Style, which is used for all prose and poetry and in many fields of discipline in the liberal arts, specifies that they always be in parentheses. . Different disciplines use different style guides that have their own punctuation rules for these and other abbreviations. In general, the above points should be followed in most cases in academic writing. The abbreviations are fairly standardized across disciplines; however, always be sure to consult your author’s guidelines and style guides for the specific discipline for any exceptions to these rules. Have you faced any problems using “for example” or “that is”? What advice did you follow? Share with us in the comment section!