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Monday, December 16, 2013

A US Copy Editor's Perspective: Tips Regarding e.g., i.e., etc.

Here are some quick tips on when and how to use e.g. or i.e.

First, e.g. means "for example" and i.e. means "that is." Second, a comma follows each. Third, both are normally used within a pair of parentheses, per 16CMS 6.43.

Here are examples of both:

There are many varieties of apples (e.g., Pink Lady, Red Delicious, to name two).
The patient was flatlining (i.e., registering no brain waves or heartbeat).

As for tips regarding etc., first, it is the abbreviated form of et cetera and means "and so forth." Second, it needs a pair of commas, unless it ends a sentence. Third, Chicago prefers that it be avoided in formal prose and that it be used also in parentheses, per 16CMS 6.20.

And here are two examples of its usage:

There are many varieties of apples (such as Red Delicious, Pink Lady, etc.).
Prepare your pie filling (slicing your apples, whether Red Delicious, Pink Lady, etc., or other fruits, such as pears or peaches).

Hope that helps.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
Books that Build Character(s)

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies inside of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you give someone a book, you don’t give him just paper, ink, and glue.  You give him the possibility of a whole new life. Christopher Morley
The best inheritance you can leave your kids is an example of how to live a full and meaningful life. Dan Zadra

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