Wrong use of the abbreviation "i.e."
Thread poster: Jørgen Madsen

Jørgen Madsen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:12
English to Danish
+ ...
Oct 11, 2011

As a translator, you get used to all kinds of linguistic errors in the source text, but one error in particular bothers me: Often the abbreviation "i.e." ("id est" or "that is") is used when the writer quite obviously means "e.g." ("exempli gratia" or "for example"). Have others noticed this and does this mistake occur often?

 

PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 19:12
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
More recently Oct 11, 2011

Yes, I had a couple of texts just the other week where this occurred.
It was very confusing at times and really annoying.

I don't know if there is a growing tendency to make this mistake, but I really hope not!


 

Katia Perry  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, Oct 11, 2011

and I also observed in some texts the use of e.g. when, obviously, it should be used i.e.

 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:12
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Illegitimum non carborundum Oct 11, 2011

Aegroto dum anima est, spes est.

 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 11:12
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
All the time Oct 11, 2011

I see this mistake all the time, even made by educated people, but it doesn't particularly bother me. I suppose for people who never learned Latin, the abbreviations have no meaning and it's hard to remember which is which.

Latin is one of the most useful things I learned in High School, as a base for learning other languages, translating, and writing, and also in many other aspects of life.





[Edited at 2011-10-11 18:54 GMT]


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:12
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Oatmeal Oct 11, 2011

There are some nice comics here:

http://theoatmeal.com/tag/grammar

One of them deals with "i.e.": http://theoatmeal.com/comics/ie


 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 19:12
English to German
+ ...
Yes Oct 11, 2011

It happens very often. We just have to be attentive.

 

Paula Serrano  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 15:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Funny... Oct 11, 2011

The text I am translating at the moment has that exact problem...icon_smile.gif I find it extremely annoying.

I have also corrected many translations where the original was correct, but the translators who did not know the difference. Perhaps even more annoying (I have very high expectations of the work of my colleagues...).

Paula


 

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 19:12
English to German
+ ...
Latin? Oct 11, 2011

Tina Vonhof wrote:

I see this mistake all the time, even made by educated people, but it doesn't particularly bother me. I suppose for people who never learned Latin, the abbreviations have no meaning and it's hard to remember which is which.

Latin is one of the most useful things I learned in High School, as a base for learning other languages, translating, and writing, and also in many other aspects of life.





[Edited at 2011-10-11 18:54 GMT]


I have no idea of latin, but know what "i.e." and "e.g." means, just from the letters.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
True colours Oct 12, 2011

By their lexicon shall ye know them.

 

George Hopkins
Local time: 19:12
Swedish to English
Unnecessary... Oct 12, 2011

Perhaps more irritating is the combination of eg and etc.
Ie, since eg refers to examples the etc is unnecessary.


 

Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:12
German to English
Increasingly common I find Oct 12, 2011

Jørgen Madsen wrote:
Have others noticed this and does this mistake occur often?


Why do I notice it? Not really sure, but perhaps there are more instances of e.g. in daily life than i.e., hence the incorrect usages are more numerous and noticeable. To make a massive generalisation, I think it's the kind of error that's brought on by pomposity, so it's more to be pitied than deplored.


 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:12
English
+ ...
To avoid confusion, Oct 12, 2011

when editing I generally write them out: "for example" ( or sometimes "such as") for e.g., and "that is" for i.e. And I agree with George: when you write "for example" and give an example (or 2), adding "etc." is unnecessary.

[Edited at 2011-10-12 12:50 GMT]


 


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Wrong use of the abbreviation "i.e."

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