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    #1

    comma or not? - 'i.e.' or 'that is'?

    In a sentence like this: "he who contemplates, that is(,) the philosopher ..." would you place a comma after 'that is' or not? Moreover, do you think it would be equally acceptable (in a formal document) to write 'i.e.(,)' instead of 'that is(,)'? Thank you for any comments! Fabrizio (Italy)


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    #2

    Re: comma or not? - 'i.e.' or 'that is'?

    I would say no comma.

    "He who contemplates, that is the philosopher, ..."

    I understand that there is a pause betweeb the 'is' and 'the', but these two statements are closely linked. Perhaps you could use other punctuation if you wanted to keep the pause:

    "He who contemplates - that is, the philosopher - ..."

    Certainly, if you use 'i.e.' then no comma is needed:

    "He who contemplates, i.e. the philosopher, ..."

    i.e. means only 'that is' (id est, in Latin), so it is acceptable to use either. I wouldn't say i.e. is confined to formal documents either; it's not 'informal' but it wouldn't be out of place in an email to a friend, or whatever. Also, it isn't uncommon to hear people say 'i.e.' in speech.

  1. euncu's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: comma or not? - 'i.e.' or 'that is'?

    ---I'm neighter a teacher nor a native-speaker----

    I was thinking that "that is" was "that is to say" for short. So, I would put a comma after "that is".

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    #4

    Re: comma or not? - 'i.e.' or 'that is'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio D. Raschella' View Post
    In a sentence like this: "he who contemplates, that is(,) the philosopher ..." would you place a comma after 'that is' or not? Moreover, do you think it would be equally acceptable (in a formal document) to write 'i.e.(,)' instead of 'that is(,)'? Thank you for any comments! Fabrizio (Italy)
    ***NOT A TEACHER***Just to let you know that here in the United States, teachers advise their students to use a comma: he who contemplates, i.e., the philosopher....As another poster pointed out, many (most?) people say aloud the letters. My teachers taught me to say the words "that is." By the way, "e.g." is treated in the same way in the States. Thank you.

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    #5

    Re: comma or not? - 'i.e.' or 'that is'?

    I agree with the two previous posters, "that is" or "that is to say" or "ie" all require the comma.

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