when I write a paper in my class, I use far too many "e.g." inside parentheses. The alternative is to use "for example" and "for instance" like 50 times and that's not better either. Somehow I feel better if I could use parentheses without the "e.g." in them, maybe it will look less messy but also confusing because it doesn't state these are examples...I don't know.

Here's a made-up example:

Some students rely on friends (e.g., for affection), classmates (e.g., for information), coworkers (e.g., for social support), parents (e.g., for financial help), etc.

What should I do?

p.s. I registered my account but this website keeps giving me error. I'm not sure if I'll be able to reply to this post, not sure who to contact.

  • Interesting question and difficult to answer without a larger sample of your writing. Someone can of course propose a rewrite of your example sentence. On its own, it doesn't really bother me. If this is a persistent problem, though, I would wonder if you're not just overdoing it on examples.
    – cruthers
    Aug 25, 2021 at 1:13
  • 3
    Just take out the “e.g.”s. They really don’t add anything.
    – Xanne
    Aug 25, 2021 at 2:41
  • Break it down and punch it up. Students often rely on their friends, colleagues, or parents to fulfill their needs: affection, connection, and money. Aug 25, 2021 at 5:30
  • It could be more useful if you say something like "Some students rely on friends, classmates, coworkers...." then in subsequent sentences provide a description of what functions friends, classmates, etc, fulfil and how they do it. That will provide more information than just giving an example that you say nothing else about.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 25, 2021 at 7:46

1 Answer 1


Do you definitely have to use an explicit "e.g." and must it always be in parentheses?

The example sentence can be written without either:

Students rely on friends, classmates, coworkers and parents for a range of social support such as affection, information and financial help.

Specific examples do not have to be removed from the base statement by parentheses and not every mention of an example needs to be explicitly and separately flagged as such.

Also, "etc." here is a bit confusing. I have no idea what else you suppose belongs in this list.

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