Say Goodbye to 'Etc,' 'Ie' and 'Eg': Latin Abbreviations Banned From U.K. Government Websites

Pope Benedict XVI resignation Latin text
A copy of the text in Latin read by Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation, The Vatican, February 11, 2013. The U.K.'s Government Digital Service has banned Latin abbreviations from all its websites. ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

U.K. government websites will ban Latin abbreviations in an attempt to reduce confusion and misunderstanding, it has been announced.

The Government Digital Service (GDS), responsible for making the government's online information simpler, clearer and faster, has concluded that people who do not speak English as their first language struggle in particular to make sense of Whitehall's web content.

The blind and partially sighted who rely on voice technology to read government material aloud also face difficulties. 'Eg,' meaning 'for example,' appears over 4,000 times across the government's online platforms, yet the word is often misread as egg.

"We've found that several programs that read webpages for those with visual impairment read 'eg' incorrectly, so we're updating the style guide," said DGS content manager Persis How.

'Etc', an abbreviation of 'etcetera,' used at the end of a list to indicate that further, similar items are included will be removed from all government department sites, as will 'ie', meaning 'for example.'

"Even those with high literacy levels can be thrown if they are reading under stress or are in a hurry—like a lot of people are on the web. So we're phasing them out," added How.