Should e.g. and i.e. have periods, e.g. "e.g.", or no periods, eg "eg"? Should they be italicized, e.g. "i.e." or not, eg "i.e"?

  • At the very least, i.e. should have periods so as not to confuse it with Internet Explorer. – rsegal Aug 7 '12 at 19:57

In formal contexts, I would go with "e.g." and "i.e.", with two periods and without a whitespace. The spellings without periods are quite popular, but informal. For example, Merriam-Webster does not have an entry for either "eg" or "ie". Wiktionary marks "eg." and "eg" as informal, and offers the following usage notes:

  • Opinion is mixed about whether this term should be italicized as although it is Latin, it has become part of standard English, and whether it should be written with a separating space "e. g." as it was originally two separate words.

It also offers the following usage notes for "i.e.":

  • Opinion is mixed about whether the abbreviation should be italicized, or whether there should be a separating non-breaking space as in i. e..
  • ie is often found in current usage, and is perhaps now considered acceptable.

Personally, I would argue that there's no need whatsoever to italicize "e.g." or "i.e.". Both expressions are extremely common in English, and have been for a long time. They are full-fledged citizens of the English language, and as such, they do not have to be italicized as if they were foreign words.


eg & ie should be: e.g., and i.e., Don't forget the comma.


Most style guides I have seen also say no italics for e.g. or i.e. — they are common Latin abbreviations.


I.e. and e.g. are written without periods in AMA style (10th edition).

protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 19:04

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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