Word Choice – e.g. versus i.e.

Rebecca’s question: “My question is when do you use ‘ie’ and when do you use ‘eg’? Of course, along with that question I also need to know what is the proper punctuation to be used with them.”

BizWritingTip response: The abbreviation i.e. represents the Latin term “id est” meaning that is. The term e.g. – from the Latin “exempli gratia” – means for example.

Use i.e. when you want to indicate everything that follows.

Example
You will need to prove you are familiar with computer programs, i.e., Lotus Notes, Word, and Excel. (You will be tested on all three programs.)
or
You will need to prove you are familiar with computer programs (i.e., Lotus Notes, Word, and Excel).

Use e.g. when you wish to indicate some of the following plus other things not listed.

Example
You will need to prove you are familiar with computer programs, e.g., Lotus Notes, Word, and Excel. (You will be tested on some of these programs and possibly others.)
or
You will need to prove you are familiar with computer programs (e.g., Lotus Notes, Word, and Excel).

Note: Never use e.g. with etc. It would be redundant.

The Oxford Dictionary, The Chicago Manual of Style, and The Canadian Press Stylebook all use periods with these short forms.

The Chicago Manual of Style says to use these two-character abbreviations only within parenthesis. Others say you only have to use a comma in front. Both manuals say to put a comma after i.e. or e.g.

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