I.E. Or E.G.: Learn When To Use Each
At no point in the history of humanity has it ever been easier to learn things. Wanna know how to fold a shirt in under two seconds? Wanna crash course history lesson in why the border between the United States and Canada isn’t exactly geometrically pleasing? Wanna know the steps you need to take to become Pope? Damn near everything people have ever figured out is on the Internet, which is why there’s no longer any excuse to use words and phrases incorrectly, even if they’re Latin.
Now and again, the fine people over at Merriam Webster create an Internet video to clear up confusion related to a word’s definition or the differences between two similar words. This week, the editors decided to deal with “e.g.” and “i.e”, and while their offering is, of course, a little bit dry, it’s also fact-based and extremely informative. Let me do my best to try and explain it in the simplest English as possible for you.
You use “i.e.” when you want to restate something in different words or get more specific, and you use “e.g.” when you want to list an example of something. There are a lot of teams I like in the NHL, i.e. at least five or six. There are a lot of teams I love in the NHL, e.g. the Blackhawks and the Sharks. At least that's what I think, but you're probably better off just watching the above video
The great thing about written language is that it’s fairly simple to track how speech patterns have changed over time. For an overwhelming majority of words, we can figure out about when people started using it and whether or not it came from another language. That makes it fairly simple to track how formal people tended to be in certain cultures, and it makes it simple to answer debates that periodically pop up.
For example: is irregardless a word? My spellcheck might be telling me no, but Vince Vaughn’s character in Wedding Crashes would most definitely disagree. Luckily, the fine people over at Merriam Webster can answer that question for us too. So, check out the video and the incredibly interesting answer below and then head over to YouTube and give the channel a follow. They might not be offering content as humorous or sexy as you’d find in other places, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fascinating.