In the past we have examined some selections from part of chapter five in Patricia O’Conner’s helpful book on English grammar and word usage. The book is Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English (Riverhead Books, New York, c.1996), and it contains a section headed by the phrase “mixed doubles,” which has to do with words that are commonly confused or mixed up, because they are close in spelling and sometimes in meaning.
It’s time to look at a few more of these confusing couplets today (from p.98). Discern and learn! :)
e.g./i.e. Go ahead. Be pretentious in your writings and toss in an occasional e.g. or i.e. But don’t mix them up. Clumsy inaccuracy can spoil that air of authority you’re shooting for. E.g. is short for a Latin term, exempli gratia, that means ‘for example.’ (Kirk and Spock had much in common, e.g., their interest in astronomy and their concern for the ship and its crew.) The more specific term i.e., short for the Latin id est, means ‘that is.’ (But they had one obvious difference, i.e., their ears.) Both e.g. and i.e. must have commas before and after (unless, of course, they’re preceded by a dash or a parenthesis).
emigrate/immigrate. You emigrate from one country and immigrate to another. (Grandma emigrated from Hungary in 1923, the same year that Grandpa immigrated to America.) Whether you’re called an emigrant or an immigrant depends on whether you’re going or coming, and on the point of view of the speaker. A trick for remembering:
Emigrant as in Exit.
Immigrant as in In.