How is "e.g." pluralized?

Responses to the above article and other critiques of "ee.g." (insisting on "e.g.") roundly dismiss it as an aberration and even vilify it. Yet it's not by accident that multiple people have raised this question over the years. It's surely not a typo, and it almost certainly refers back to the same scriptorial Latin doubling technique that has given us "pp." for paginae ("pp." doesn't mean "page page" any more than "ee." means "example example," to answer a previous commenter; same goes for "et sqq." as plural of "et seq." and "LL.D." meaning "legum doctor" or doctor of laws plural).

Therefore, "ee.g." may be taken to mean "exemplōrum gratiā" (for the sake of examples) as some have suggested, and be used as a plural. (Probably not "exemplōrum gratiāe" adjectivalizing, as "ee.g." likely means "for the sake of examples" and not "welcome examples." This line of reasoning, however, could invalidate "ee.g." as well, since "for the sake of example" could be argued to obviate the need for number. New Latin and New Greek are like that.)

Now, I have seen "ee.gg." in some texts, which may not be justifiable with the same argument; it is likely that earlier writers mistook the "g" not as an adverb but as a plural, which as I mentioned above doesn't make sense.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gratia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latin_phrases_(full) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Archives/Language/2016_September_1

So, Mommy and Daddy, may I use "ee.g." or will I get spankedd and sentt to bedd without suppper?

  • 2
    The real question is not the correctness of using 'ee.g.' but whether your readers will understand the intent behind its use and not dismiss it as a mistake. Given that Latin is no longer commonly taught in schools, how many will be aware of the underlying Latin terms? – KillingTime Mar 20 at 7:28
  • Does this answer your question? How is "e.g." pluralized? – Rosie F Mar 20 at 7:55
  • @RosieF, the OP went at great length to explain why he thinks that the answers to the other question do not settle the matter. The question is thoughtfully presented and deserves an answer. – jsw29 Mar 20 at 16:04
  • I have to admit, I don't recall posting that comment of 8 hours ago. I wouldn't have just suggested (to the OP) a link to a question which the OP himself cited. – Rosie F Mar 20 at 16:48
  • @RosieF, a comment like this gets automatically posted when one votes to close a question as a duplicate. – jsw29 Mar 20 at 17:03

There are two distinct questions that can be raised about pluralising e.g.: (1) Should it ever be pluralised?, and (2) If it were to be pluralised, is writing ee.g. a good way of doing it? The OP argues at length, with some persuasiveness, that the answer to (2) is yes, by analogy to pp. The OP, however, assumes without argument that the answer to (1) is yes. Two of the answers on the page that the OP refers to say that e.g. doesn't need to be pluralised, but they are brief, and do not elaborate on the matter, so it may be worthwhile to do it here.


fruit, for example, apples and oranges.

This seems to be a perfectly natural thing to say, far more natural than

fruit, for examples, apples and oranges.

Why does it seem unnatural to use the plural, given that it is obvious that two distinct examples of fruit are given? The answer is that we do not think of example in the phrase for example as standing for specific countable, individuated examples that follow; rather we think of for example as a set phrase that modifies everything that follows as a whole. Note that example in for example functions very differently from example in

Some examples of fruit are apples and oranges.

In that case we would use the plural because example does not function as a part of a set phrase.

Given that e.g. is used in place of for example it should be treated the same way: as something than makes clear the nature of what follows as a whole. One should not think of e in e.g. as standing for countable, individuated items, just like one doesn't think of example in for example as standing for countable, individuated items.

Also, one should bear in mind that how something like e.g. is used, and for that matter that it is used at all, is a matter of convention, and the convention just happens to be that it is not pluralised; the occasional examples of ee.g. that one might see are far too rare to establish a new convention. If one insists on using ee.g., chances are that this will distract the reader from appreciating the point of whatever one is trying to say. It is thus unwise to use it, even if the arguments for its use might seem good in some way.

So to respond to the last, playful sentence of the question in the same manner: Mommy and Daddy are tolerant and they won't spank you for writing ee.g. However, Mommy and Daddy are gently advising you not to do that, because they don't want you to be hurt when your friends laugh at you for writing ee.g.

  • If one were writing within the field of classics (yes, I choose to not capitalise it, on par with ‘history’, ‘antropology’ and any other field of study – even theology!), one should not be surprised that the reader would expect matching number, thus ee.g. would most likely be considered a not just acceptable, but maybe even preferable, when listing more than one example. – Canned Man Mar 23 at 21:05

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