e.g. and i.e. - the difference
 
E.g. means for example (from the Latin exempli gratia).
I.e. means in other words or that is (from the Latin id est). 
 


The abbreviations e.g. (from the Latin exempli gratia) and i.e. (from the Latin id est) are often confused. This is because they are both used to introduce some clarification of something previously mentioned.

e.g.

The abbreviation e.g. is used to provide an example:

Examples:

The buffet provided excellent variety, e.g., vegetarian and non-vegetarian soups, Italian and French breads, and numerous sweets.
(e.g. = for example)

He was the school champion of many activities (e.g., chess, badminton, 110m hurdles, and high jump).  
(e.g. = for example)

i.e.

The abbreviation i.e. is used to restate an idea more clearly or offer more information.

Examples:

It happened in August; i.e., two months ago.
(i.e. = in other words)

It happened in August; e.g., two months ago.
(e.g. = for example)

Service charge is included in all prices, i.e., you don't have to leave a tip.
(i.e. = in other words)

Getting Them Wrong

Often mixing the abbreviations up does not mean your sentence is grammatically incorrect. However, getting them wrong will change the meaning of your sentence.

Examples:

All amphibians are thriving in the new pond; e.g., the two bullfrogs were being very active yesterday.
(This sentence is fine grammatically. From it, we infer that there are more amphibians than two bullfrogs in the pond.)

All amphibians are thriving in the new pond; i.e., the two bullfrogs were being very active yesterday.
(This sentence is fine grammatically. We infer that the only amphibians in the pond are the two bullfrogs.)
 
 
 Select the correct answer:
 
     
 
     
 
     
 
 

 
REMEMBERING WHICH IS WHICH 

This may assist in remembering:

e.g. = "example given"
i.e. = "in effect"

THE FORMAT WITH E.G. OR I.E. 

Comma before e.g. or i.e.

He directs a variety of genres, e.g., crime, disaster, drama, fantasy.
(Note: If you use a comma before, then the text that follows should not be a standalone sentence. This is called a run-on error). You can avoid this by using a semicolon before or starting a new sentence.)

Semicolon before e.g. or i.e.

He directs a variety of genres; e.g., he directs crime, disaster, drama and fantasy.
(Note: A semicolon is most often used when the text that follows is a standalone sentence.)

Brackets with e.g. or i.e.

He directs a variety of genres (e.g., crime, disaster, drama, fantasy).

A new sentence with e.g. or i.e.

He directs a variety of genres. E.g., he directs crime, disaster, drama and fantasy.

COMMA AFTER E.G. OR I.E. 

In the US, it is usual to follow e.g. or i.e. with a comma. It is less common in the UK. There is leniency in all conventions.  The golden rule is: be consistent.

FULL STOPS (PERIODS ) OR NOT

It is usual to see full stops (periods) with e.g. and i.e. However, you can write them without. The golden rule is simply: be consistent.
 
 
DON'T USE ETC. AFTER E.G. 

The examples you offer after using e.g. are usually samples from a more complete list. Therefore, it is often not appropriate to use etc. after e.g. since it is understood that you are only offering a partial list by way of example. In the example below, the etc. is redundant:

Mark needs gloves to handle live fishing bait (e.g., rag worm, lug worm, crab, etc.)

In the example above:
the use of e.g. is correct
the use of etc. is wrong
 

See also:

Glossary of easily confused words
Glossary of common errors
Glossary of grammatical terms
Abbreviations