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How is "e.g." pluralized? Usually I just see "e.g." used regardless of the number of examples given, but I don't know if that's correct or merely a product of widespread ignorance. More rarely, I've seen "ee.g." and "e.e.g." but I haven't been able to verify that either of those is right.

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Adding as a comment because I ain't ruining those lovely identical timestamps: note that both "ee.g." and "e.e.g" are nonsensical. They're like saying "for example example". Don't use them. –  Marthaª Apr 7 '11 at 20:45

5 Answers 5

up vote 25 down vote accepted

Just like "for example", "e.g." doesn't need a plural.

If you want to emphasize the plurality of examples, you can say "some examples are...", but that doesn't have a commonly-used Latin equivalent, and thus there is no standard Latin abbreviation for it.

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I gave you both a coke. –  Robusto Apr 7 '11 at 19:37
Same timestamp, same gist, same score... difficult choice! This one wins the tiebreaker due to the second paragraph. –  Pops Apr 7 '11 at 20:39
Considering the e.g. is exemplī gratia, or “for example’s sake”, with example in the genitive singular of exemplum, the obvious way to make it read “for examples’ sake” must of course be exemplōrum gratia, as any student of Latin could tell you — and no one else. I really wish people wouldn’t use Latin when writing English. –  tchrist Feb 23 '12 at 23:34

Since e.g., translated from the Latin, means "for example," it doesn't need a plural.

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Jinx! (Seriously: check out those timestamps.) –  Marthaª Apr 7 '11 at 19:36
Yikes! Down to the second! –  JPmiaou Apr 7 '11 at 19:44
Hey, for a second there, I was in @Martha's league! ;) –  Kelly Hess Apr 7 '11 at 20:11

Of course you might need to pluralize "e.g.," if you are talking about the abbreviation itself. For example, "In this document we have too many i.e.'s and e.g.'s."

As shown, I would add an apostrophe + 's' for the same reason needed in the expression "She earned all A's and B's." Something is needed to clarify that the 's' in question is not part of the abbreviation.

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Good point, though I'm pretty sure this isn't what the OP was asking about. –  Marthaª Apr 7 '11 at 20:46

It says here in this book: Latin second declension neuter: exemplum singular; and exempla plural: example, sample, or model.

And the neuter singular adjective gratum, plural grata: pleasing, grateful.

So e.g. might mean: Thank God! I've finally found some real-world agreement.

I hope that I shall ever see no peoples using e.e.g. --JKilmer

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The first thing I think of when I read e.e.g. is some mad cross between electroencephalography and E. E. Cummings. –  Jon Purdy Apr 7 '11 at 22:11
There is no exempla here; it’s exempli in the genitive singular. The genitive plural is exemplorum, which I implore you not to use. Don’t use Latin at all. –  tchrist Feb 23 '12 at 23:35
@tchrist. Sure enough, the genitive plural of "exemplum" is "exemplorum", and "e.g." stands for "exempli gratia". However, I haven't found any indication in the posts to the fact that anybody considers "exampla" to be a genitive. Pete Wilson only stated that "exempla" is a plural form, with which I suppose you agree... –  Paola May 3 '12 at 16:57

The E.G. part stands for Exemplī Gratiā. This is the Latin way of saying what we say in English as "for the sake of example".

Note that English uses a lot of little words that Latin doesn't. This is because Latin is inflected while English isn't. English still has a plural for nouns, but no cases. Latin has singular and plural, but also five cases.

To take the Latin phrase apart, Exemplī is the possessive (genitive) singular form of the noun exemplum 'example', so in Latin it means "of example". Literally.

And Gratiā is the ablative singular form of the noun gratia 'benefit; sake', so in Latin it means 'for the sake'. Literally.

If you want to pluralize the phrase, you have to decide which noun to pluralize -- is there more than one examples, or more than one benefit? Since you're looking for multiple examples, one would use the plural genitive exemplōrum 'of examples', instead of the singular genitive exemplī of example'.

I.e, it should be Exemplōrum Gratiā instead of Exemplī Gratiā. Of course, that would still be e.g.

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protected by tchrist Sep 24 at 14:09

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