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Is there a plural for e.g., the abbreviation of exempli gratia? Or is it regular to use it before multiple examples? I know that some abbreviations double up in their letters in the plural, but I haven't found anything enlightening yet.

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closed as general reference by Robusto, MετάEd, RegDwigнt Dec 2 '12 at 22:42

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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@3nafish No, it is not. That’s genitive singular. –  tchrist Dec 2 '12 at 21:27
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@tchrist Here's another page that says it could be genitive singular or nominative plural. Can someone who knows Latin verify? –  3nafish Dec 2 '12 at 21:30
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@3nafish It makes no sense in nominative. Think about it. –  tchrist Dec 2 '12 at 21:34
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@3naish: Right! An EEG. As to that Wiki Answer, it is really incorrect. The plural of exemplum is exempla. The plural of a word on -um in the nominative can never be on -i. –  Cerberus Dec 2 '12 at 22:20
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This is general reference (Wiktionary, Merriam-Webster), and really just common sense to boot (I haven't even seen "e.gg.", "ee.g." or "ee.gg." anywhere, not once, not even as a typo). –  RegDwigнt Dec 2 '12 at 22:43
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2 Answers 2

Gratia is the head of the phrase and was originally an ablative singular, as in "for the sake of example". The genitive exempli speaks for itself. Gratia is commonly said to have developed into a postposition. I do not think you need a plural when describing several examples, because this is about "example" as a concept, not as a concrete entity. I would probably just write exempli gratia with any number of examples. In the form e.g., the singular is even less visible, so I would certainly use that with several examples. Note that, whatever you do, you should not pluralise gratia in this expression, because it is a fixed postposition.

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Unless the rest of your text is in Latin, please do not use exemplī grātiā (“for the sake of the/an example”, “for the/an example’s sake”) at all. Just use for example in English.

As far as I know, nobody never writes it in the plural: exemplōrum grātiā (“for the sake of the examples”) or exemplōrum grātiīs (“for the sakes of the examples”).

Correction: this did, but as you see, the rest of it is already in Latin.

If you are writing English, use for example.

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To be fair, OP asks about e.g., which is entirely unexceptionable. –  TimLymington Dec 2 '12 at 21:38
    
Am I to assume that the use of all Latin abbreviations are to be avoided? –  Sean Dec 2 '12 at 21:40
    
@Sean I do not know whether you should assume that “all Latin abbreviations are to be avoided”, but it is my general advice to avoid using Latin in English, yes. It may be the de-rigeur modus operandi to lace your writings with ibid., biz., and op. cit. when writing articles in academic journals, textbooks, et cetera, but it really makes you seem ipso facto pretentious to use it in regular text. –  tchrist Dec 2 '12 at 21:41
    
But it's not mine. –  TimLymington Dec 2 '12 at 21:42
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@Sean: None of the academic journals I edit articles for disallows the use of Latin abbreviations, but some specifically prohibit their italicization (i.e., write "e.g.", not "e.g.", presumably because they're English now. And some prefer them to be sans punctuation. I'd avoid all but e.g., i.e., ca., & etc. Many don't know what viz. means. Op. cit., loc. cit., cf., & ibid. are usually restricted to footnotes. Regardless, don't overuse them because they're sometimes distracting. And never insert hyphens into foreign phrases: they're set pieces & shouldn't be changed. –  user21497 Dec 2 '12 at 22:45
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