by Jennie Ruby
Interrupting a sentence to explain a term or give examples of a concept is a way to get your reader to see immediately how the new information relates to the real world. But how to introduce the interruption is something many writers are shaky on. Should I use e.g.? Should I use the words "such as" or the word "like"? Is i.e. the same as e.g.? Where do the commas go with all of these? Here is a guide to simplify your choice of interruption style:
- i.e. = that is
- e.g.= for example
- such as introduces a list of some of, but not all of, the examples of your topic
- like introduces a model, but not the exact example [Do not use like to give a partial list of examples.]
And here are some examples of all of those:
- Your remittance, i.e., your payment, must be mailed to our business address. [explanation or definition]
- Classic rock songs, e.g., "Stairway to Heaven," Back in Black," and "Hotel California," often contain long guitar solos. [incomplete list of examples"]
- Fresh farm produce, for example, eggs, lettuce, and tomatoes, can be found at the open market every Sunday morning.
- Desktop publishing programs, such as QuarkXPress, PageMaker, and FrameMaker, enable you to create publication-quality page designs. [incomplete list of examples-note that there is no comma after the words such as]
- On-line business cards, like printed business cards, can help spread the word about your company. [like them, but not them]
The abbreviated interruptions should be used in technical or academic writing or when brevity is needed. For a smoother-sounding writing style, use only the full words when interrupting sentences in text. Now, interrupt yourself with confidence!
Are you an eLearning developer who has been tasked with creating an effective voiceover script? If so, consider attending my Writing Effective eLearning Voiceover Scripts class. I also teach the Writing Training Documents and eLearning Scripts class.
About the Author: Jennie Ruby is a veteran IconLogic trainer and author with titles such as "Editing with Word 2003 and Acrobat 7" and "Editing with MS Word 2007" to her credit. She is a publishing professional with more than 20 years of experience in writing, editing and desktop publishing.