Why Latin sucks.

Why you shouldn’t use Latin (especially Latin abbreviations like “e.g.” and “i.e.”):

Searching with Google for “e.g. [definition]” produces 318 MILLION hits.
Searching with Google for “i.e. [definition]” produces 598 MILLION hits.

In other words, nobody can keep these two phrases straight. They’re so confusing that they’re worthless.

Here’s a bonus article about acronym and initialism (what a mess). We need an international ruling body that declares how these things work. How about the UN? They’re not doing anything else.


7 Responses to Why Latin sucks.

  1. Timbo says:

    Two thoughts…

    1. If people don’t understand the proper usage of something, is the answer to get rid of that something, or to educate them?

    2. This is one of the problems of having a living language that is a bastard of so many other languages. Meanings change over time as the language continues to evolve. I’m sure we can come up with more examples beyond ie and eg.

  2. Enrique says:

    Did you post an article back in the day explaining all those things?

    Like e.g. vs. i.e., proper use of who vs. whom, and the semi-colon.

    – Enrique

  3. Shocho says:

    The correct use of “e.g.” and “i.e.” is as follows: Don’t. Which goes for every Latin phrase you can think of. IT’S A DEAD LANGUAGE!

  4. Kathy says:

    If you find yourself about to type “e.g.”, type “for example” instead.

    If you find yourself about to type “i.e.”, type “or to restate” instead.

    If you find that those replacements don’t make sense in context, you were about to use e.g. or i.e. incorrectly. :)

    Seriously, almost all writing done anywhere for any purpose should be done for comprehension. When you read tips for writers, so many of them can be boiled down to “say what you mean” and “simplify without overgeneralizing or making your writing boring”. Even people who know off the tops of their heads what e.g. and i.e. stand for stop for a moment when they read one of those abbreviations, which means you have interrupted the flow of your writing and compromised its readability. They look very important and scholarly, but they’re jarring and pompous.

    Now off to make sure I’ve never used them on my blog, lest I send the message that I like to write in a jarring and pompous style.

  5. George Haberberger says:

    I took Latin in high school and I remember this poem.

    Latin is dead language,
    that is plain to see.
    First it killed the Romans,
    Now it’s killing me.

  6. Aederam says:

    It’s too bad that I most vehemently disagree with the author of this post, because it may make me sound like a troll.

    I think that e.g. and i.e. are perfectly fine for modern purposes.
    exempli gratia has the same number of syllables as “example given”
    id est has the same number of syllables as “it is” (“that/it” do not contrast here)

    is and est are Indo-European cognates. All the other words are cognates. Substituting mentally is very simple.

    So in my head (English isn’t my first language anyway) there is no interruption of flow of reading.
    And anyone who at all considers himself versatile (as opposed to obstinate, short-sighted, prim) could act likewise.

  7. Aederam says:

    Oh by the way, I am a mathematics and physics student. If you are referring to English prose, then never mind. But we can’t be bothered to write full forms in our statements.

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