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For Example

Lesson Topic: Introducing Examples (Using "For Example" and Phrases Like "For Example")

Good writers explain their ideas well.  One way they explain their ideas is to include examples which make the writer's thoughts much more concrete, practical, and comprehensible to the reader.  Without good examples, the reader is left with just theories that are too difficult to use and apply.  Look at the following paragraph:

     It is apparent that when a person desires to learn a second language, he must study and use that language outside of the formal classroom setting.  If he does not use his new mode of communication, he will never truly progress to a proficient level.  He must seek as many opportunities as possible to employ that new language in "real" situations.  There are many things a student can do to supplement his learning and second language acquisition. 

After reading these ideas, were you waiting for anything?  Most writing teachers would scream if the student wrote this and stopped.  What is missing?

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Before we answer that question, here is another question: Do you know what the main idea of this paragraph is?  Yes.  The author wants you to know that a person can do many things outside of the classroom to improve second language skills.  The problem with this type of writing is that it is all theory.   The writer says, "There are many things a student can do to supplement his learning and second language acquisition."  However, he neglected to explain what kinds of things a student can do. In short, there are no specific examples. 

So, this is what our lesson this month is about: introducing examples in writing.  There are several  phrases that are commonly used.  These phrases are often used incorrectly. 

for example

for instance
such as
e.g.

These phrases essentially have the same meaning, but they are not used in the same way.  For our purposes, let's break them up into 2 groups: phrases used within a sentence and phrases used to begin a new sentence

Group 1: Phrases Used Within A Sentence

Each phrase can be used within a sentence when it is followed by a list of items which elaborate on or show examples for the main idea of the sentence.  Here are examples:

I can play quite a few musical instruments, for example, the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
I can play quite a few musical instruments, for instance, the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
I can play quite a few musical instruments, e.g., the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
I can play quite a few musical instruments, such as the flute, the guitar, and the piano.

Look at the last sentence with such as.  Do you see anything different with this sentence as compared to the first three?  Such as does NOT have a comma after it; the first three phrases have commas before and after them.

The phrase such as can be used in the middle of a sentence without any commas.  Take a look at this example:

Car companies such as Toyota and Ford manufacture their automobiles in many different countries around the world.

You may be wondering why there are no commas.  The answer is simple: the words after such as are necessary and essential to the meaning of the sentence.  If you take out those words, the meaning will change.  Let's take out such as:

Car companies manufacture their automobiles in many different countries around the world.

What does this sentence mean?  It could mean ALL car companies manufacture their automobiles in many different countries around the world.  This is not true because some companies produce their cars in just one or two countries.  Therefore, the phrase such as Toyota and Ford is necessary.  If these words are necessary, do not use commas.

Group 2: Phrases Used To Begin A New Sentence

Usually only for example and for instance can begin new sentences.  Each can begin a new sentence when the phrase is followed by a complete idea or sentence (not a list of items).  

My father loves going to restaurants which serve exotic foods.  For example, last week he went to a restaurant which serves deep-fried rattlesnake. 
My father loves going to restaurants which serve exotic foods.  For instance, last week he went to a restaurant which serves deep-fried rattlesnake.

So, how can we make the above paragraph better?  Let's use the phrase for example.

     It is apparent that when a person desires to learn a second language, he must study and use that language outside of the formal classroom setting.  If he does not use his new mode of communication, he will never truly progress to a proficient level.  He must seek as many opportunities as possible to employ that new language in "real" situations.  There are many things a student can do to supplement his learning and second language acquisition.  For example, students can attend churches where the target language is spoken.  They can make many friends and attend numerous gatherings for free.  Through these interactions, students are guaranteed opportunities to learn and practice the new language. 

 

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Quiz

Directions:  The following sentences use the phrases in this lesson.  If a sentence is correct, put a check () next to it  If a sentence is incorrect, fix it.

1. When I go camping, I bring lots of things.  For example, a fishing rod, matches, and a sleeping bag.

2. There have been many leaders in history who have tried to rule the entire world.  For instance, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. 

3. Do you have any hobbies, e.g., collecting stamps or baseball cards?

4. Food, such as, pizza and hamburgers are not really junk food; they contain a lot of protein and vitamins.

5. Heesun has met many famous people.  For example: one time she met Jacques Chirac. 

6. When I visit Korea, I want to go to many cities such as Seoul and Taegu. 

7. Evelyn has taken many psychology classes e.g. Behavior Psychology 102, Child Psychology 223, and Group Dynamics 301. 

8. I love old TV shows, for example, The Twilight Zone and Gilligan's Island. 

9. Joyce has studied many Asian languages for instance Korean, Chinese, and Thai.

10. Juan loves rock musicians from the 1970s such as Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin. 

Answers are in RED

1. When I go camping, I bring lots of things.  For example, a fishing rod, matches, and a sleeping bag.

When I go camping, I bring lots of things, for example, a fishing rod, matches, and a sleeping bag.

2. There have been many leaders in history who have tried to rule the entire world.  For instance, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. 

There have been many leaders in history who have tried to rule the entire world, for instance, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. 

3. Do you have any hobbies, e.g., collecting stamps or baseball cards? √ correct

4. Food, such as, pizza and hamburgers are not really junk food; they contain a lot of protein and vitamins.

Food such as pizza and hamburgers are not really junk food; they contain a lot of protein and vitamins. (no commas are necessary)

5. Heesun has met many famous people.  For example: one time she met Jacques Chirac. 

Heesun has met many famous people.  For example, one time she met Jacques Chirac.  (there must be a comma after for example--not a colon!)

6. When I visit Korea, I want to go to many cities such as Seoul and Taegu. 

When I visit Korea, I want to go to many cities, such as Seoul and Taegu. 

7. Evelyn has taken many psychology classes e.g. Behavior Psychology 102, Child Psychology 223, and Group Dynamics 301. 

Evelyn has taken many psychology classes, e.g., Behavior Psychology 102, Child Psychology 223, and Group Dynamics 301. 

8. I love old TV shows, for example, The Twilight Zone and Gilligan's Island.  √ correct

9. Joyce has studied many Asian languages for instance Korean, Chinese, and Thai.

Joyce has studied many Asian languages, for instance, Korean, Chinese, and Thai.

10. Juan loves rock musicians from the 1970s such as Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin. 

Juan loves rock musicians from the 1970s, such as Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin. 

Rules to Remember!

1 We recommend that you study some of our other lessons that are related to this topic:
2 e.g. stands for exempli gratia (Latin)
3 Though the phrases above all have the same meaning, they are not used in the same way.

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