02/05/17 The Meaning of ‘e.g. / i.e.’


The first is the abbreviation (for exempli gratia) that you want when citing examples:

  • top-tier law school, e.g. Yale, Harvard, and Michigan.
The second (short for id est, “that is”) is used where further explanation is due:
  • The Framers insulated Article III judges from the political fray, i.e., they are appointed for life and not easily subject to removal.

But i.e. is often misused to mean “for example.” Despite their appearance to the contrary in this entry, e.g. and i.e. should not ordinarily be italicized, and they should each be followed by a comma. One exception is e.g. in legal-citation signals such as see, e.g., which are italicized.