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Consider the following (mock) sentence:

We use a class of methods in which fruit (here: bananas) are combined with vegetables (here: pumpkins).

An editor has proposed instead:

We use a class of methods in which fruit (i.e., bananas) are combined with vegetables (i.e., pumpkins).

The meaning strikes me as different however. Question: Are both sentences correct? Do they differ in their meaning?

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    It seems a matter of style. It's hard to judge a difference of meaning without wider context (Have you specified a range of fruit? Does it matter if it's a different fruit? Is it just a matter of continuing to use the same fruit mentioned earlier?), but it's probably not a significant difference of meaning. People have different views about colons and parentheses, and you could put e.g. "(here, bananas)" or even "(bananas)". There's also the issues of use of and punctuation around "i.e." which attract differences of opinion. Hard to see a factual answer for this.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 11:15
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    I would understand it to mean "In this case we have used bananas". so I see a slight shade of difference from "i.e." (that is). I agree that a comma would do as well. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 11:27
  • Just to be pedantic, I think "e.g." would be closer to the OP's intentions than "i.e.".
    – user888379
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 12:54
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    Excellent comments. It is indeed the meaning suggested by @KateBunting: "in this case we have used bananas"
    – user449277
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 13:03

2 Answers 2

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The construction (here, bananas) is somewhat informal, which is probably why the editor objected to it. There's nothing really incorrect about it, but depending on where it is going to appear, you might want t avoid it.

I don't think (i.e., bananas) means the same thing. If you use (here, bananas), I would assume you are referring to a specific example of your method in which bananas are the fruit; while if you use (i.e., bananas), you would instead be saying that bananas are a perfectly reasonable fruit to use in your method.

A more formal way of saying it might be (in this case, bananas). And if the editor was merely objecting to the informality of (here, bananas), I expect they would be perfectly happy if you replaced it with (in this case, bananas).

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  • Excellent answer, thank you! This was precisely the issue, and you suggested a very helpful alternative!
    – user449277
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 13:06
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There are only 12 hits in COCA for ( here :, not all of which match your example exactly, so it has some usage but is extremely rare. Meanwhile, without even searching, I can tell you that "i.e." is much more common than that. Many style guides even give formal guidance on how to use it.

Examples:

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While in your context, both options seem pretty much the same, using "i.e." may confuse the ignorant reader, since it could be interpreted as saying that all fruit is bananas and all vegetables are pumpkins. Your best option may just be using another sentence: "In our experiment we used bananas as the fruit…"

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  • Excellent, that was exactly my concern: Not all fruit is bananas :)
    – user449277
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 13:04
  • i.e. is simply that is. Why would it mean "all" bananas??
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 15:00

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