it’s latin to me

I’m not sure why I started thinking about this yesterday, but I got really curious what exactly “e.g.” stands for. So after a few quick searches through my dictionary, which I actually use more than you could probably guess, here are a few words/abbreviations that you may have wondered about before, too.

e. g. — Latin; exempli gratia; literally “for example”

i. e. — Latin; id est; literally “that is,” but I usually think of it as “such as” or “as in”

et al — Latin; shortened form of et alli (masc), et aliae (fem), and et alia (neut); literally “and others,” you see it a lot in lists of authors when they don’t want to list them all

m. o. — Latin; modus operandi; literally “mode of operation” or mode of working

sic — actually an English word (I had no idea), though from the Latin meaning “so” or “thus,” usually seen in parentheses when something is written/quoted as it was originally written, most often used because there was some kind of mistake the first time and it the current writer wants you to know it was the way the earlier writer wrote it


2 Responses to it’s latin to me

  1. laura says:

    At some point in my school years I was taught to associate “e.g.” with “for example,” since “example” starts with an e, and “i.e.” with “in other words,” beginning with i. It may be a sad thing to say, but that’s one of the most useful tricks I ever learned.

  2. metro says:

    A Little Latin goes a long way. If your interest has been tickled, maybe you might want to learn more? The Latinum podcast has downloadable free lessons, based on GJ Adler’s textbooks for learning Latin as a Spoken Language.

    Have fun :)

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