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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grammar cheat sheet | HeidiStevens, chicagotribune.com

Not, actually, a very handy "cheat sheet." But Stevens clarifies five word choices that I have seen people struggle with in my editorial work. I've added links to these terms in Garbl's Editorial Style Manual:

Lay versus lie

i.e versus e.g.:

Stevens provides the following advice, but I'll go one essential step further: Instead of using confusing, misused abbreviations for confusing Latin terms, use the clear English terms instead [emphasis added]!
Grammar Girl offer's this trick: "From now on, i.e., which starts with i, means 'in other words,' and e.g., which starts with e, means 'for example.' I = in other words. E= example."

I've seen some references that poo-poo the difference between these two words. But why not use them in precise ways?! Their differing uses are usually easy to determine. Just do it -- and it will aid your readers.

BTW, don't be embarrassed if you sometimes confuse the terms above. Before using lay or lie (and their variations), I always check a style guide. And I decided that using English for i.e. and e.g. is smart because I could never remember the difference between them. And even though none can be plural or singular, I sometimes check my understanding of that just to be sure!




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