Dear Independent Clause,There used to be this great webpage (hosted on compuserve; spill a few keyboards for our fallen homies) that explained the difference and proper usage of viz, i.e., and e.g.And it had this great usage example that used all three in a single sentence. I can’t recall precisely what their example was, but it something like:“Many modern operating systems (e.g., Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) include a file browser application (i.e. a graphical way of seeing what files are on your system), though some newer architectures (viz. ahierarchical file systems) don’t have mainstream support.”My question is: I can never remember which ones need periods, and when they should have trailing commas after them. Also, did I even use them right in my example?Yours sincerely,Quid Pro Quo
Dear Quid Pro Quo,
In my pre-copyeditor days I also struggled with such issues. But I’ve seen the big orange light of Chicago (Manual of Style)—except now the light is light blue—er, anyway, yes, let me help you out with that. (Although I’ll be damned if I use your example sentence. I am a former English major, you know.)
- e.g., for example (use periods and comma)
- i.e., that is (use periods and comma)
- viz., namely (use one period and a comma)
- cf. compare (one period and no comma, fool!)
- et al. and all (one period and no comma, fool! Unless, of course, you’re using APA, in which case it’s et al., year)
- ibid. in the same place (or same as above) (one period and no comma, fool!)
When writing something (e.g., an article for publication), try to use scholarly abbreviations correctly (i.e., with all the correct periods and commas) in order to make yourself seem smart, sophisticated, and eminently publishable (cf. all the students you TA) to the people (viz., reviewers) who will be reading your work.
Anyone else have questions that have been keeping them up nights? independentclause (at) gmail (dot) com. And sorry about the ridiculous spacing. WordPress and I are having a minor disagreement.