Do E.G. and I.E. Mean the Same Thing?

To i.e. or to e.g.

No. They do not mean the same thing.

This is a blog about the English language so none of us are expected to know Latin. However, i.e. and e.g. are both referencing Latin words so if we’re going to use the abbreviations, we need to know what they really mean.

E.G. or I.E.

1

E.G.

E.G. is used to show an example explaining a previous statement.

2

I.E.

I.E. is used for rephrasing a statement. You could replace it in English with “that is” or “in other words.”

i.e

TIP:

The trick to remember the difference is in the letters.

E.G. means Example – both start with E

I.E. means In Other Words – both start with I

Just consider what you’re trying to describe and you won’t have any trouble keeping these two abbreviations straight.

 

If you find you need some assistance with your writing or another set of eyes to review it, reach out to Unscripted through the Contact page.

 

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Know When to Replace a Word

At some point, most writers find themselves stuck trying to choose the perfect word to complete a thought. Whether you think you finally found it or not, here are a few situations when you just need to choose again.

Unsure Spelling

Word Replacement

Very few people find themselves writing without a computer these days. However, if you end up taking notes for your boss or drafting a hand-written poem for your girlfriend and there is no spell check available, please consider using easy words. It is not the complexity of the words that makes your composition great, but rather the way you put them together.

Misspelled Words

If you’re not sure about the spelling of a particular word, just replace it with an easier one. There is always another way to say the same thing.

Baltasar Quote

Unsure Meaning

Just like spelling, if you’re not 100% sure of the meaning of a word, just replace it with one you know for sure.

Misused Words

(Check out Unscripted’s blog on Assure, Insure and Ensure.)

You get the idea. If you’re not sure how to use the word correctly, just pick a different one.

Clarity

Vague word choices can leave readers questioning your meaning and your overall writing. Don’t leave them in the dark. Proofread your work for clarity and replace any words that seem too vague.

Vague Words

These words can describe a myriad of things. Be more specific about your particular meaning. (Think: How many is “a few?”)

Simplicity

Don’t be afraid of “simple” words. Sometimes the easiest word is the best choice. Few manuscripts are less pleasant to read than those packed with over-complicated words. Too many multi-syllable or uncommon words in a row can add confusion and take away from the overall meaning of the sentence/paragraph/document.

Complicated Words

Of course, there are instances when complex words are the most appropriate. Just try not to cram your writing with too many of them at a time.

C.S. Lewis Quote

 

Contact Unscripted for help choosing the right word or phrase, or for any other type of editing assistance.

But Could You Care Less?

Welcome to the never-ending argument of “could care less” versus “couldn’t care less.”

Which phrase is correct?

Let’s cut to the core of the phrases.

Could Care Less

To say you could care less literally (not figuratively) means that you care at least some and therefore could care less than you do. The use of “could care less” would be warranted if you meant you cared a lot about something and wish you didn’t care so much.

Could Care Less

Couldn’t Care Less

This is usually the intended phrase.

To say you couldn’t care less means that you do not care at all. There is no room for less caring than not caring at all.

Couldn't Care Less

So why do both phrases exist?

Some people think “could care less” evolved from “couldn’t care less” when people got too lazy to say the full phrase. Perhaps, some people do not consider the technical meaning of the phrases and don’t realize there is a difference between them. Don’t be one of those people.

 

Quote

 

If you need a little more help with the twists and turns of the English language, seek assistance from Unscripted by visiting the Contact page.

Homophone Help: Accept vs. Except

accept_except

Here’s to great ideas from blog followers!

Homophones are some of the most confusing words in the English language. A homophone is a word that sounds the same as another word but is spelled differently and likely has a different meaning.

Accept vs. Except

Accept and Except are generally pronounced the same, despite the “ax” sound in accept and the “ex” in except.

1

Accept

Accept is correctly used as a verb meaning to receive, agree or include.

2

Except

Except can be a preposition (meaning apart from), conjunction (meaning but) or verb (meaning excluding).

3

The Easy-to-Remember Trick

Except = Ex

To except is to exclude.

Ex-boyfriend, ex-teammate, ex-partner…

You exclude your ex from everything, right? So when you’re meaning to exclude (such as in the examples above), think of the “ex” in exclude. If you’re trying to receive or include, then “ex-cept” is not the right choice and you want to use “accept” instead.

 

If you need some help with word choice or scanning your document for homophone errors, contact Unscripted any time.

I Don’t Know…Can You?

Meme

Maybe it’s due to the elementary school I attended, but whenever I hear someone ask “Can I…[fill in the blank],” my mind immediately responds with, “I don’t know…can you?”

Let me explain.

“Can” is formally used when asking about ability while “may” is used when requesting something.

Can May

Thus, if your friend asks, “Can I have another cookie?” you might feel justified to respond with, “I don’t know, can you?” Your friend is clearly requesting seconds while the response is questioning her ability to physically handle another cookie.

So which term is correct?

Examples

Sticklers for proper grammar (like myself) will always say “may” when making a request and “can” when asking about ability.

 The Dreaded Exception

Much to my dismay, the English language has evolved to allow the use of “can” when making a request in informal situations. Therefore, the friend asking if she can have another cookie is not technically incorrect. However, if you are writing or speaking in a business or educational situation (such as an email at work, your thesis paper or in a speech), stick with “may” when asking permission and “can” when asking about ability.

Exceptions

If you are not sure if you chose the correct word or you’re worried that you missed something during your initial review, contact Unscripted for a light edit.

Assure, Insure or Ensure?

Assure_Ensure_Insure (1)

These might be the most commonly confused words in the English language. Believe it or not, these three words are not interchangeable. (Not even two of them.)

Assure

ASK: Are you talking about a person?

Assure means to make someone feel confident about something. The thing to remember about “assure” is that it only applies to a person.

Assure Synonyms: comfort, convince, guarantee

Insure

ASK: Are you talking about paying to protect something?

Insure is correctly used specifically regarding insurance. People often confuse insure and ensure. You cannot insure that the customer will be satisfied just like you cannot ensure your car through a Geico policy.

Insure Synonyms: cover, protect

Insure Ensure

Ensure

ASK: Are you talking about a person or financially protecting something?

If the answer to the above question is “yes” then “ensure” is not the correct word choice. Ensure simply means “to make certain.” Ensure does not refer to insurance and it is not meant to be used in reference to a person. Ensure is often used in business contracts when referring to an informal guarantee.

Ensure Synonyms: certify, guarantee, warrant

If you are not sure which of these three words to use, you have two options:

  1. Ask the questions above to decide which category applies to your sentence.
  2. Choose a different way to state your sentence. There is always another way to say the same thing.

Unfortunately, the spell-check feature on most computers will not catch the misuse of these words.

Unscripted is happy to provide some professional assistance with selecting the correct word choice. Just visit the contact page here.

When to Say I and When to Say Me

This one is easy, I promise!

A common error in both spoken and written English is mixing up when to say “I” and when to say “me” when referring to yourself and another subject.

Before we get into the details of “I” vs “me,” let’s start with the most important concept: the order of the subjects.

Simple Rule: ALWAYS them and then me, NEVER me and then them. (Always.)

In other words, always say “Tom and I” or “Tom and me,” never “me and Tom.” Think of it as common courtesy to state the other person before yourself.

Now on to the meat and potatoes. When is it Tom and I and when is it Tom and me anyway?

I or Me

Why do you say “I” in the first sentence but “me” in the second?

TIP: Take yourself out of the sentence and see how it sounds.

Would you say, “I am going to the store” or “Me am going to the store?” Put Carrie back in the sentence and you have “Carrie and I are going to the store.”

Would you say, “Would you like to go to the store with me” or “would you like to go to the store with I?” Again, put Carrie back in the sentence and you have “Would you like to go to the store with Carrie and me?”

The complicated answer refers to whether the pronoun (I or me) is doing the action or receiving the action. “I am going” vs. “come with me.”

Luckily, with the trick above, you don’t need to remember things like the relationship between the pronoun and the verb in a given sentence.

People who cannot distinguish between good and bad language, or who regard the distinction as unimportant, are unlikely to think carefully about anything else.   ~B. R. Myers

If you need another set of eyes to ensure that your usage is correct, contact Unscripted today.