What does 'I.E.' mean?

2,801 Views Updated: 12 Aug 2017
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What does 'I.E.' mean?

Amongst the most widely spoken languages in the world, English is not as easy as one may think. That is why people often end up making blunders in their writing and embarrass themselves before readers.

One of the most common reasons behind these gaffes is that the language has so many words that confuse the users, such as similar sounding words like “affect” and “effect” and idioms.

Another thing that often bothers speakers is abbreviations and one that has baffled speakers for a long time is ', i.e.,'. If the abbreviation has perplexed you too in the past and still does, then you are on the right page. Keep reading as we unravel its mystery to you.


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What does i.e. mean and When is it Used?

'I.e.' is an abbreviation for a Latin term “id est” which roughly means “that is.” It can also be translated to “in other words” or “that is to say”; hence, used while elaborating something that has already been mentioned.

Let’s take a look at some examples to understand it better.

#1. It is a well-known fact that our galaxy, i.e. the Milky Way, is home to billions of stars.

In the above example, though “our galaxy” had been mentioned, some readers might not be aware of what it is called. Thus, we gave its name using the abbreviation.

#2. Did you know that the closest planet to the sun, i.e. Mercury, is the smallest one in our solar system?

In both these examples, there was a need to elaborate on a fact that had already been mentioned and that’s why “i.e.” was perfect here.

Are i.e. And e.g. The Same?

Many people confuse 'i.e.' with 'e.g.'. 'E.g.', which is also an abbreviation for a Latin term “Exampli gratia”, means “For Example” and is used whenever a few examples are needed to be introduced. Here are some examples that will help you get the hang of it. 

#1. The Southern states of the US, e.g. North Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana, are known for their rich cultural heritage.

#2. Citrus fruits, e.g. oranges, lime, and grapefruit can reduce the risk of kidney stone.

Here 'e.g.' was apt as there was a need to give a few examples.


(Image Courtesy: SlideShare)

Here is a simple trick that can help you remember the meaning and 'i.e.' usage. For instance, you may remember the abbreviation using the phrase, “In Essence.” You can also remember i.e. as short for “In Other Words,” which will never let you mess up its usage in your writing. A similar trick can be used to remember the meaning of 'e.g.'. The phrase you can use in this case is “Egg Sample,” which sounds pretty similar to “Example.”


(Image Courtesy: Slide Share)

Did you know the meaning of 'i.e.' and the difference in the usage of 'i.e.' and 'e.g.'? Share your opinions with us and what the tricks you use to remember the meaning of the two abbreviations through your comments below.

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