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Alternatives to "for example"

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If you're writing a technical document, an essay, or even a private journal entry, you'll find yourself looking for other ways to say "for example". Here are some great alternatives for you.

It's important to be aware that the usage of "for example" differs quite a bit if you're using it in the middle of a sentence or at the start. Therefore, I've divided up these alternatives into two sections. The first set is when you're using "for example" in the middle of a sentence and the second set is for when you're using it at the start of a sentence.

1. Alternatives to "for example" in the middle of a sentence

Let's take a look at the sentence "There are plenty of ways to add physical activity into the day, for example walking, running, and working out at the gym".

When it's placed in the middle of a sentence, you have only a few synonyms for "for example" that sound normal. These are:

  • such as
  • for instance
  • e.g.
  • including
  • examples include
  • namely
  • in particular

Beware when using "namely" - it has the connotation of being the full list of items, not just a few examples out of many. Therefore "namely" would not be the best choice for the particular sentence I gave above. Instead, namely is best used for sentences when your examples that you list are the complete set of those available, e.g. "This software is available for the major operating systems, namely Apple, Windows, and Linux".

2. Alternatives to "for example" at the start of a sentence

At the start of a sentence, you'd use other ways to say "for example" than the ones described in the previous section. Let's take a look at this piece of text:

"When boiling vegetables, the cooking time will vary depending on the type of vegetable and size of the pieces. For example, potatoes will take longer to cook than carrots".

When "for example" is placed at the beginning of a sentence, as it is above, here are other phrases for "for example"

  • As an example
  • As a case in point
  • As a typical case
  • To illustrate
  • In particular

As you can see, the only synonym which works in either situation is "in particular".

Tips if you are not a native English speaker

I'm a native English speaker myself, but if you're not a native English speaker there are some extra things you may like to know when seeking another word for "for example". Firstly, rest assured that the options I've given above are safe and work well, so if you stick with these you will be fine.

Remember that the placement is important; you can't just use any "for example" synonym in any place without thinking about its location in the sentence. As mentioned above, there are two different sets of alternatives to "for example". You'd use one set when "for example" would be in the middle of a sentence and the other when it's at the beginning of a sentence.

Here are some additional tips for those who are not native English speakers.

Don't go overboard using all variations

Don't vary the alternatives too often. As a native English speaker, I find it a little surprising or noticeable when I'm reading something where the phrase "for example" is constantly replaced with a different alternative. Native English speakers tend not to vary this too much. So alternate between 2 or maybe 3 different phrasings, but there's no need to use every possible phrasing variation in your one piece of writing.

If you have "for example" at the end of a sentence

It's rare to use "for example" at the end of a sentence, although it can happen. In that situation it's usually better to rearrange your sentence to have "for example" in the middle or at the beginning. If you must place it at the end of a sentence, your alternatives are "as an example" or "as a case in point".

One such sentence might be: "It can be surprisingly easy to break a plate or glass when washing the dishes or putting them away, for example". In that situation it would be better to reword it to change the placement to "It can be surprisingly easy to break a plate or glass, for example when washing the dishes or putting them away".

Conclusion

Whether or not you are a native English speaker, this article has given you appropriate options of words to use instead of "for example".


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