There are many abbreviations used in English which come from Latin. You will often read or hear them and it’s a good idea to know what they mean. Remember, you don’t need to understand Latin, just the English translation and when to use them. Although generally you should not use them in academic writing, it is useful to know the meaning and some of them can be used to make notes quickly.
Here are some common examples:
1. etc. This means ‘and more’ / ‘and others’. Do not use this at the end of a list in academic writing. Use ‘and so forth’.
2. e.g. This means ‘for example’. Do not write e.g. in academic writing, always write ‘for example’.
3. i.e. This means ‘that is to say’. It is used to show that an explanation is coming. Do not write i.e. in academic writing. Use ‘in others words’ or ‘that is to say’ or ‘which means’.
4. n.b. This means ‘note’. It is used to show that a point is important. Do not use this in academic writing but do use it when you are making notes in a lecture or talk.
5. et al. This means ‘and others’. You can use this in academic writing when you are referencing a text with multiple authors, for example, Jones et al (2008) showed that…
6. ibid. This means ‘in the same place’. It is used in academic writing to refer to a source which is the same as the previous one.
7. per se. This means ‘by itself’. Do not use this in academic writing. Use an adjective such as ‘inherently’ or intrinsically’.