Friday, May 19, 2006

Viz

Gendy asks:

I have a grammar/style question: When do you use "i.e." versus "e.g." versus "viz"? I'm betting that only Craig knows the answer to this question, and that Derek will pretend to know, but won't really know.


The Other Style Council responds:

My pretend-to-know answer is that i.e. means "that is" and e.g. means "for example." The distinction is that i.e. is used to offer a single synonym or definition, whereas e.g. is followed by a list.

Viz is the pompous version of both, and it stands for "videlicit." Kooky audio pronunciations here:

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=videlicet&x=15&y=15

10 Comments:

Blogger Craig said...

First off, everyone at TOSC wishes Gendy a speedy recovery.

Secondly, Derek is mostly right. Bryan Garner's "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage," the one book I would take to my desert island, says "e.g." is used to introduce representative examples, while "i.e." is used for explanatory phrases.

For example,

"Don't be silly, Craig is an exciting guy with tons of interests (e.g., reading, watching basketball and tending to his baseball card collection)."

"Oh, I totally agree. It's just that Craig's a little too bookish for my tastes -- i.e., a tremendous dork."

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"E.g." means "for example."

"I.e." means "that is."

"Viz." means "that is to say" or "namely."

For example:

"There are lots of names for people who spend too much time reading books, e.g., dorks, bookworms or bibliophiles."

"Pete is a classic bookworm, i.e., a person whose nose is always in a book."

"Pete's is more than a bookworm, he is a book lover, viz., a bibliophile."

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