Some errors (e.g., using the wrong abbreviation) …

… are easily avoided (i.e., don’t abbreviate).

Most people — including writers — don’t know the difference between e.g. and i.e.  In an informal survey of 20 college-educated adults, only one respondent knew the meaning of these two abbreviations. All others either reversed the meaning of the two (saying, for example, that e.g. meant that is) or ignored the abbreviations when reading.

In this sample text entry from Yahoo! Small Business, the writer really means for example or e.g.

Click the little question mark button and you’ll get more information — and what the writer intends to be examples:

If you’re giving an example, precede it with for example, for instance, like, or such as — and not e.g. If space is really tight (as it often is on a Web page), use just the word example or the shorter ex

Instead of using the abbreviation i.e. (short for the Latin id est or that is), use that is. Better yet, explain what you mean so clearly that the parenthetical that is is unnecessary.


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