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  • Subject

    "i.e." or "i.e.,"

    Hi y'all...

    I have a grammar question: if one is using the abbreviation "i.e." - should there be a comma after it or not? I've seen both and can't find out which is right. From my sense of logic the comma makes no sense :) ... but you never know.

    Thanks in advance, Nora
    AuthorNora07 Mar 08, 13:42
    i.e. (AE) - with comma, don't know about the Brits ;-)
    #1Author macpet (304707) 07 Mar 08, 13:44
    It depends on the house style dictated by the publisher. Personally I refuse to write the comma after any such short abbreviation under any circumstances, an attitude that is also supported by some style manuals.
    #2AuthorJo UK07 Mar 08, 13:48
    Forgot to mention, it's not primarily an AE/BE thing, although I have a vague mpression that the comma os demanded more often by American publishers.
    #3AuthorJo UK07 Mar 08, 13:50
    I would always use i.e. without a comma.
    #4AuthorShaples GB (251341) 07 Mar 08, 14:48
    Agree with Jo; it depends on whatever style manual you favor. Personally I always write it with a comma, same for e.g., etc. But I don't fight it if a publisher's copyeditor takes it out -- life's too short for fights like that.
    #5Authorfairfax07 Mar 08, 15:13
    I agree with macpet; in AE the comma is normally still preferred. (And the same is true for e.g.)

    I'm not at home with my Chicago Manual, but I think that's still true in the most recent edition. At least, for general texts; scientific or technical ones might be more inclined to leave it out.

    Modern BE styles may even omit the periods as well as the comma; traditional BE may be more similar to AE. In that sense it does depend on the house style.
    #6Author hm -- us (236141) 07 Mar 08, 23:21
    And really, it's perfectly logical, because it means 'that is,' which also has to be set off by commas when it's interjected into a sentence. Compare:

    —What kind of bird is that? —That is a vulture.
    It was a carrion-eater, that is, a vulture.

    Similar phrases such as 'in other words' are also set off by commas.

    #7Author hm -- us (236141) 07 Mar 08, 23:27
    @7 hm-us. Yes, this is the logic. But compare "It was a carrion-eater, that is a vulture" and "It was a carrion-eater, i.e. a vulture". In the first sentence the comma is necessary for clarity; in the second not. And that's also an important criterion for deciding whether to use a comma.
    #8AuthorJo UK (412035) 08 Mar 08, 01:11
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