Posts Tagged ‘Proper use of (i.e.)’

That is, for example

I recently discovered these two abbreviations. Let me rephrase that. It’s not that they were new to me, because I’ve seen them around but never knew exactly what they meant. So I thought there may be others who are not sure of their meaning or how to use them. I won’t explain their Latin meaning because, that never interested me and only caused more confusion for me. Right now, I’m only interested in English. Later if I ever get English down pat, maybe I’ll take some interest in Latin. I doubt that will happen any time soon.

Let’s start with (i.e.) I think it’s used more often than the other one, at least I use it more, maybe too much, but then how much is too much? If you can remember the phrase “that is”, associating the (i) with is you’ve got it down, i.e., you know the letters i and e are short for, “that is”, or “in other words”. It shortens your sentences, i.e., it conserves words. Something to remember is, especially if you are a speaker; don’t use these abbreviations in your speech. Use the actual words “that is” and “for example.” The shortened forms are used only in writing.

In the second abbreviation, the e and g means “for example.” Here, associating the (e) with example is helpful. It is used in a sentence to illustrate an example of what you just said. Isn’t that simple? It must be, if I can get it down anyone can. When I started using these, I just put them in a sentence where it seemed logical. Sometime later, when I researched them further, I found that I wasn’t using them properly. That’s me, always jumping in without testing the water.

Here are a few things to remember when using these abbreviations. First, do not put them at the beginning of a sentence, and do not use both in the same sentence. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. I read it somewhere and that person didn’t say why either. Second, they must be punctuated properly, i.e., use a comma before and after them, for example, (, i.e.,) as though you were using the actual words in whatever part of a sentence they are. I ain’t lernt that yet.

That’s it. This revelation doesn’t make me an expert now. So don’t be beating down my door for other things. Well, you can tap on it if you like.


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