I've seen sentences like this one in which "i.e." refers to a word or a phrase:

I like citrus fruits, i.e. the juicy, edible fruits with leathery, aromatic rinds of any of numerous tropical, usually thorny shrubs or trees of the genus Citrus. (http://dictionary.reference.com)

I wonder if it can restate the whole sentence, especially in this context:

Nowadays, many students tend to start their tasks as close to the deadline as possible, i.e., "Student Syndrome".

Here I mean:

Student Syndrome is a phenomenon in which the student is likely to begin his or her tasks as late as possible.

  • 1
    It can refer to anything you want to describe in other words.
    – Barmar
    Feb 22, 2015 at 13:35
  • 1
    I think I find your second example "awkward". Would likely read better with just a dash instead of "ie".
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 22, 2015 at 14:49
  • Hello Ehsan, good question. I notice that though you'd like to upvote Lachlan's answer you lack sufficient rep to do so. One way to acquire sufficient rep would be to ask an interesting question and wait a little while, allowing as many ELU members to get a look at your OP and maybe upvote you, as I have, or contribute commentary or an answer. When you quickly make an official selection you disincentivize, to some extent, broader community participation in your post. That, in turn, will likely reduce the possible reps your OP accrues. Oh yeah, +1
    – user98990
    Feb 22, 2015 at 16:12
  • 1
    @LittleEva good piece of advice! I'll take it!
    – Ehsan
    Feb 22, 2015 at 16:26
  • ie means 'in other words' and needs to lead on to a balanced restatement / explanation. Here, 'Many students tend to do X' isn't balanced by 'Student Syndrome'. Feb 22, 2015 at 23:40

2 Answers 2


The sentence ("Nowadays, ..") would seem unsatisfactory to most readers, because "i.e." indicates that you are going to explain or rephrase the term or the phrase that precedes it to help the reader understand something. Someone who reads "i.e." is probably geared up cognitively for an expansion rather than a reduction, and might feel let down by the two little words "student syndrome". What's more, if the reader isn't already familiar with the term, it just doesn't work as as explanation. I'd suggest something along the lines of the following.

Nowadays, so many students start their tasks as close to the deadline as possible that this behavior has been termed "student syndrome".

  • Thanks! That's just what I needed. I will vote up as soon as I get 15 rep :)
    – Ehsan
    Feb 22, 2015 at 14:52
  • 3
    For the latter example, the more appropriate usage for i.e (= id est, "that is") would be something like "Candice suffers from student syndrome, i.e., a tendency to start tasks as close to the deadline as possible." Feb 22, 2015 at 17:24

There are two Latin contractions which have entered the English language between which it is difficult to differentiate:

ie: or "id est", which translates (roughly) to "in other words"


eg: or "exemplii gratia", which comes out as "example given"


"Australia is home to the marsupials, ie. a group of mammals in which the female lacks a placenta and the young are carried and suckled in an external pouch on the mother's body until mature"


"Australia is home to the marsupials, eg. the kangaroo."

OK, it's not easy but the difference is that "Australia is home to the marsupials, in other words, a group of mammals in which the female lacks a placenta & the young are carried and suckled in an external pouch on the mother's body until mature."

Also, Australia is home to the marsupials, and, the example I am giving (of a marsupial) is. the kangaroo. (But there are others: the Koala & the wallaby).

Hope this helps


  • As an ex-publisher, I feel it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge The Chambers Dictionary as providing the definition of "marsupial" in the ie example.
    – dmk
    Feb 24, 2015 at 13:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.