Definition of i.e.

  1. that is

What is the difference between the abbreviations i.e. and e.g.?

The most looked up abbreviations in our online dictionary are i.e. and e.g., probably because they are often confused for one another.

Both of these are abbreviations of Latin expressions: i.e. stands for id est, which means “that is” in Latin. It introduces a rewording or a clarification of a statement that has just been made or of a word that has just been used, such as:

The cough may last for a short period of time—i.e., three to five days.

E.g. stands for exempli gratia in Latin, which means “for example.” It introduces one or more examples that illustrate something stated, such as:

Submit a sample of academic writing—e.g., a dissertation chapter.

Because their usage can seem similar, these abbreviations are often confused. One trick to keeping them straight is to remember that i.e. and that is both share an i and that example and e.g. both share an e.

You can also try substituting the English for the abbreviation to check:

The cough may last for a short period of time—that is three to five days.

Submit a sample of academic writing—for example, a dissertation chapter.

Another frequently seen Latin abbreviation is et al., which means “and others.” It is usually styled with a period, because the Latin words that it stands for have different possible endings, and et al. is the root: et alii (masculine), et aliae (feminine), and et alia (neuter). Since English nouns don’t have grammatical gender, et al. makes for an all-inclusive version of “and others.”

Origin and Etymology of i.e.

Latin id est

I.E. Defined for Kids



Definition of i.e. for Students

  1. that is Hint: The abbreviation i.e. is short for the Latin phrase id est, meaning “that is.”

Learn More about i.e.

Seen and Heard

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to make confused

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