I'm writing a thesis in English (I'm not a native speaker) and I suddenly wondered:

  • should I use 'for example' or 'e.g.'?

  • should try to completely avoid both?

There are no university specific recommendations for it afaik and other thesis in my department differ greatly from each other (don't get me wrong - this makes total sense to me as it is probably one of the least significant things :D).
I saw theses with only for example / mostly e.g. / neither of those terms.

I like the example of the usage from here, especially this part:

Please note that when submitting essays or theses to universities in Australia, it is preferred that you only use e.g. within parentheses, such as in the following examples:
‘Many people thought that John had a large collection of classic cars, (e.g., a Rolls Royce Phantom, a Phaeton and an MG), which he kept in a large warehouse.’
‘Joan had errors in her essay (e.g., no commas).’

And then they add:

Otherwise, it is preferable for you to use ‘for example’ rather than ‘e.g.’

But that's where new questions arise:

  • How to exactly use 'for example' then?
  • Based on what can I decide if I should choose one or the other?
  • Is this only specific for Australian- or other English universities too?

And here a few actual sentences from my thesis:

Other XML tags for visual components, collision objects and more configurations can also be defined. For example: using the <visual> tag the model can be graphically displayed.

Including other files, which enables model files to be created as reusable modules, e.g., for loading different robot models into the same environment.

It can display model files and data from topics, e.g., camera data.

  • 1
    Based on english.stackexchange.com/questions/7946/… at the very least it is okay to use e.g. outside of parentheses.
    – Anketam
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 21:50
  • 2
    Have you asked your advisor if there's a local preference? Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 12:54
  • 1
    I think the recommendation you quote somehow replies to your first two question: use "e.g" in short, to the point clarifications (e,g, something you could remove without loosing meaning), and use "for example" for longer and more elaborated examples Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 20:45

3 Answers 3


I can find nothing to indicate that e.g. (or 'for example') should be left out of a thesis, or any other body of writing.

If you do, however, want to use a different indicator then 'such as' is a good, formal alternative. It is possible to use 'like' in some contexts, but this is a more informal mode of expression and should probably not be used in a thesis.

The examples you provided illustrate one good point that you already seem to know. You used e.g. in the middle of a sentence and 'for example' to begin a sentence - well done.

Good luck with your thesis.


"E.g." is an abbreviation for the Latin "exempli gratia", which means "for example". The abbreviation is fairly common in "advanced" writing, like theses, in my experience.

However, it's an other-language abbreviation, so it's a small hurdle for some. Might your thesis have readers who are less advanced? Might some of them be weaker with English than you are? Might your thesis ever be translated, either wholly or by people pasting bits into Google Translate?

Because of these considerations, some writers, editors, and departments avoid using any of the Latin abbreviations (e.g., i.e., ibid.). It is not wrong to use "for example" instead, and your work will be slightly more accessible if you use that instead of "e.g.".

Either way, the phrase is not limited to parenthetical expressions.


They mean exactly the same thing. Outside of cases where you must following a specific manual of style, if the writing is formal, it's up to you. You should, however (according to Strunk), place e.g. inside a pair of commas, e.g., here.

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