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Grammar Repair Shop: Can you decipher Latin abbreviations?

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Problem: Writers who never studied Latin often mix up the abbreviations i.e. and e.g.

Lesson: When you mean "for example," use e.g., which stands for the Latin exempli gratia.

When you are further clarifying a point, write i.e., which means "that is," from the Latin id est.


"Please provide two forms of identification, e.g., your driver's license and Social Security card."

"Raises will be minimal this year; i.e., no one will receive more than a 2 percent increase."

Peeved by a common error? Puzzled by perplexing grammar rules? Send us an e-mail at with the subject "Grammar." Or call us at (703) 905-4850.

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