If you want to take an example or several examples, you use the phrase 'for example,' not 'for examples.' Though the word 'example' is a countable noun, why is 'for examples' wrong?

  • 3
    Because you can only list one example at a time, perhaps chained to others with "and also consider" or some such. If you are going to list Fred, John, and Frank as examples (not chained) you should say "... and consider the examples of Fred, John, and Frank ..." or some such.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:12
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    In my view it's not necessarily wrong, just not idiomatic.
    – brasshat
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:20
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    if you're going to give plural examples, examples include: "examples include A, B, C" or "with examples being A, B, C" or "some examples are A, B, C". You hear those forms all the time - it's totally normal. In contrast, if you are going to give one example, obviously you have to use a singular.
    – Joe Blow
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:52
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    @brasshat hmm, what's an example of what you are thinking of? A plural is a plural. You can most certainly use "for examples" if you offer plural examples: it's common to say "Blah blah, for examples, you need only look at A, B, C" or "Blah blah, for examples of that, you need only look at A, B, C."
    – Joe Blow
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:52
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    You can certainly use examples as a plural, but "for example" is kind of a stock phrase. In the sentence, "For example, A, or B, or C", you're still considering each of them as an individual example.
    – stangdon
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 17:00

3 Answers 3


When you say "for example" you're referring to the idea of "example". The "for" isn't a way to shorten "To further illustrate my point here is a list of examples". In this way "example" isn't countable.


You can use it, but even if used correctly, it will sound wrong to people, and will likely distract from the message you are trying to send.

For examples, see ngrams and search results here and here.


The Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary interprets the phrase "for example" as an idiom separate from the definitions of the individual word "example". See here. Interestingly, even though the dictionary defines "for example" as "used when you are mentioning a specific person or thing..." (emphasis added), it gives a plural case as an example:

A lot of my friends were there—John and Linda, for example.

At least by the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary, both "for example" (as an idiom) and "for examples" (direct use of the countable noun) should be acceptable for your plural case.

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