The Oatmeal Explains i.e. and e.g. Like No One Else


Warning: If your maturity level is above the 4th grade, you might not appreciate the humor in this graphic article. Even so, the explanation of i.e. versus e.g. is crystal clear and entertaining.

Warning #2: The sample sentences in this graphic are funny, weird, sort of gross, but not offensive; however, many readers will find other content on the Oatmeal site offensive. I don’t recommend it for unsupervised children.

Click on the image for the entire graphic explanation of i.e. and e.g.

About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Mark

    So, this is one of the comics I read at The Oatmeal earlier, before I began reading all the other non grammar related comics.
    40 years…
    …Well, in June…
    …40 years.
    This is how long I have been using i.e. believing it meant “in example”. Well, alright, 40 years would be my whole life, but it might as well be the length of time I have believed this.

    E.g., well, I have seen it used before, but just thought it was another way of writing i.e. Like, CE and BCE for AD and BC respectively (I hope that is what those mean, I just seen CE used instead of AD just the other day, hmm, dictionary time.)

    Here I am now, trying to change the whole i.e. to e.g. thinking. Also, I used to just use i.e in parenthesis only. Now I know it can be used with a comma before and after it. Well, alright, they used it with a comma before and after at The Oatmeal. At Grammar Girl she used it just after and had 5/6 grammar guides state this.

    Well, back to learning some more things I never knew. OH, like the dash. I just learned how to use that properly in writing. Guess I will look that up on here and see if you have a post on the dash. Always get a second opinion. I read Grammar Girl’s usage of the parenthesis, commas, and the dash.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko02-03-2013

      Thanks for your thoughts, Mark. I particularly appreciate your humble willingness to share your previous misunderstandings.

      Thanks for the ideas for future posts as well. I’ve been planning to do on on dashes. Few people use them correctly.

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