Punctuation after abbreviations like e.g.

Some grammar rules (and embarrassing mistakes!) transcend the uniqueness of different regions and style guides. This new International Grammar section by OnlineBookClub.org ultimately identifies those rules thus providing a simple, flexible rule-set, respecting the differences between regions and style guides. You can feel free to ask general questions about spelling and grammar. You can also provide example sentences for other members to proofread and inform you of any grammar mistakes.
Post Reply
User avatar
Nicola Bigwood
Posts: 10
Joined: 12 Jan 2018, 13:54
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... Assassin's Fate (Fitz and the Fool #3)</a>
Currently Reading: The Book of Swords
Bookshelf Size: 37
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nicola-bigwood.html
Latest Review: The Elf Brief by Jordan David
Location: UK

Punctuation after abbreviations like e.g.

Post by Nicola Bigwood » 13 Feb 2018, 15:39

In British English, abbreviations like i.e. and e.g. usually include full stops (aside from some house style guides which exclude them, like the UK Government website). A comma usually precedes them when they are followed by a list:

She will go out tomorrow, i.e. not today.
He has eaten lots of food today, e.g. bread, cheese, ham.

This is demonstrated also on the Oxford English Dictionaries website in the grammar section explaining the difference between i.e. and e.g. (URL: en.oxforddictionaries. com/usage/i-e-or-e-g)
- and also in the dictionary section for the definition of e.g.

These sentences do not include commas after the abbreviation, though. For instance, British English would not say:
She will go out tomorrow i.e., not today.
He has eaten lots of food today e.g., bread, cheese, ham.

The exception would be in a longer sentence where e.g. is not being used to introduce something but is just 'another word' in the sentence, like it is in this one. For instance:
A comma is not required after e.g., unless the sentence as a whole requires one.
is correct in British English.

Is there a difference for American English? I'm curious because I had a comment on a review about a comma always being required after e.g. so I wanted to check whether this was standard American usage, and whether I need to follow American conventions instead in future.

The differences in all the varieties of English are always fascinating! :D

Thanks!

User avatar
DustinPBrown
Posts: 176
Joined: 10 Oct 2017, 15:58
Currently Reading: God of War, Ares
Bookshelf Size: 312
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dustinpbrown.html
Latest Review: These Lies That Live Between Us by Kai Raine

Post by DustinPBrown » 14 Feb 2018, 09:41

Your suspsicions are correct. US standard is to have a comma before and after the abbreviation, at least from what I've always been taught.

User avatar
ayoomisope
Posts: 350
Joined: 27 Jan 2018, 18:21
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 64
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 100
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ayoomisope.html
Latest Review: Athena Rising by Bill Combs
Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Post by ayoomisope » 17 Feb 2018, 10:35

Nicola Bigwood wrote:
13 Feb 2018, 15:39
In British English, abbreviations like i.e. and e.g. usually include full stops (aside from some house style guides which exclude them, like the UK Government website). A comma usually precedes them when they are followed by a list:

She will go out tomorrow, i.e. not today.
He has eaten lots of food today, e.g. bread, cheese, ham.

This is demonstrated also on the Oxford English Dictionaries website in the grammar section explaining the difference between i.e. and e.g. (URL: en.oxforddictionaries. com/usage/i-e-or-e-g)
- and also in the dictionary section for the definition of e.g.

These sentences do not include commas after the abbreviation, though. For instance, British English would not say:
She will go out tomorrow i.e., not today.
He has eaten lots of food today e.g., bread, cheese, ham.

The exception would be in a longer sentence where e.g. is not being used to introduce something but is just 'another word' in the sentence, like it is in this one. For instance:
A comma is not required after e.g., unless the sentence as a whole requires one.
is correct in British English.

Is there a difference for American English? I'm curious because I had a comment on a review about a comma always being required after e.g. so I wanted to check whether this was standard American usage, and whether I need to follow American conventions instead in future.

The differences in all the varieties of English are always fascinating! :D

Thanks!
Your knowledge of British English grammatical rules is outstanding.I really appreciate your insights.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles William Eliot

User avatar
Nicola Bigwood
Posts: 10
Joined: 12 Jan 2018, 13:54
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... Assassin's Fate (Fitz and the Fool #3)</a>
Currently Reading: The Book of Swords
Bookshelf Size: 37
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nicola-bigwood.html
Latest Review: The Elf Brief by Jordan David
Location: UK

Post by Nicola Bigwood » 16 Mar 2018, 14:48

DustinPBrown wrote:
14 Feb 2018, 09:41
Your suspsicions are correct. US standard is to have a comma before and after the abbreviation, at least from what I've always been taught.
Thank you - that's helpful to know! Very different to British usage :o :lol:

User avatar
Nicola Bigwood
Posts: 10
Joined: 12 Jan 2018, 13:54
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... Assassin's Fate (Fitz and the Fool #3)</a>
Currently Reading: The Book of Swords
Bookshelf Size: 37
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nicola-bigwood.html
Latest Review: The Elf Brief by Jordan David
Location: UK

Post by Nicola Bigwood » 16 Mar 2018, 14:50

ayoomisope wrote:
17 Feb 2018, 10:35

Your knowledge of British English grammatical rules is outstanding.I really appreciate your insights.
Thank you - glad to be of help!

Post Reply

Return to “International Grammar”