Thursday, April 5, 2007

For example

Many writers use the Latin abbreviations "i.e." and "e.g." incorrectly. "I.e." means "that is," and is used when the example you are citing is the only example that will work for what you are describing.

For example (and here you could use "e.g." because there are many examples we could use), if you say "Your dog, i.e., a chow, is specifically excluded from coverage if it bites someone because the company excludes all chows," "i.e." is correct.

Use "e.g." when you could say "for example." For instance, suppose you were describing the types of liability losses a client's homeowners policy covers. "Your homeowners policy covers many types of liability, e.g., if your dog bites someone or if your child breaks the neighbor's window." In this case use "e.g." because there are more than one type of loss excluded under the homeowners policy.

After using "i.e." and "e.g." in writing, use a period after each letter and always use a comma after the final period. If using either "i.e." or "e.g." in the middle of a sentence, use a comma before and after them.

While this sounds like a lot of information to digest, the correct use of "i.e." and "e.g." can add formality to your writing.

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