That is, for example….

There are two abbreviations that often get confused: i.e. and e.g. Some folks use them interchangeably; unfortunately, that’s wrong.

I.e. is short for the Latin phrase id est, which means it is. It indicates that an explanation, or restatement, or related idea, is about to be presented. For instance:

She didn’t have a second date with Jim, i.e., she found him pretty boring.

Or….

We decided not to go out to dinner with them, i.e., we ended up eating at home after all.

E.g., on the other hand, is an abbreviation of a Latin phrase, exempli gratia, which means for example.

For instance:

I love old Hollywood classic, e.g., Casablanca and Gone with the Wind.

Or

Liz Taylor had a lot of husbands, e.g., Richard Burton, Eddy Fisher, Michael Wilding and Nicky Hilton, among others.

One crude but easy way to differentiate the two is that e.g., if put together as letters instead of abbreviations, sounds something like the beginning of the word example. Also, some have suggested that since i.e. can mean in other words, you just have to remember that phrase when you see the letter i in i.e.

So… I wish you all a Merry Christmas, i.e., may you have a blessed holiday season.

And…I hope that you receive all you ask for this year, e.g., clothing, jewelry, gift cards, or precious time with family and friends.

 

 

 

 

Past

There’s nothing wrong with using this word—except when it’s redundant. And that’s where we find most of the goofs in our speech.

How often have you heard the phrases “past history” or “past experience”? Probably far too often, and likely often enough that we no longer feel the damage it’s doing to our brains.

Think about it. “History” is all in the past, isn’t it? So “past history” is redundant, right?

How about our experiences? As far as I’m aware, I’ve never had a future experience. Come to think of it, all my experiences have been in the past. (I’m assuming yours have been, too. So to say “past experience” is redundant, too.)

So let’s just say things like “History tells us…” and “From my experience…”. And yes, you have my permission to ask folks about any future history or future experiences when they use “past” redundantly!

Imply/Infer

Person A is talking to Person B. Person A says that Person B’s girlfriend has no personality, is only interested in Person B’s money and has negatively impacted Person B’s manners, wardrobe and personal cleanliness since knowing her.

Person A is implying (suggesting, indicating but not stating directly) that Person B might consider breaking up with his girlfriend.

If Person B hears the implication and gets the same idea, he is correctly inferring (deducing, concluding) what Person A is suggesting.

If you suggest a course of action or change of perspective without directly stating it, you are implying something. If someone picks up what you are implying, then they are inferring what you are saying.

And if Person B hears all these things that Person A is implying regarding his girlfriend and he infers that she’s great and he should continue dating her, then he is inferring incorrectly and is probably kind of stupid.