As title. I've read a previous post Why is 'for examples' wrong? in this site. It seems to me that when you want to give more than one example, you should not use the phrase for example. But I saw a sentence from my dictionary:

Many countries, for example Mexico and Japan, have a lot of earthquakes.

So, can we really use "for example" when we want to give two or three examples? Or "for examples" is somehow possible?


5 Answers 5


As you are probably aware, e.g. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase exempli gratia, and means “for the sake of an example”. Technically, it should be followed by an example, i.e., by a single example. In reality, no-one has ever worried about this technicality, and it is not uncommon to find a list of examples following 'e.g.'.

There are many Latin words and phrases used in English, as well as words and phrases from many other foreign languages. When these word and phrases are used in English, it is not uncommon for native speakers to ignore the correct singular and plural distinctions that apply in the original language. E.g.

1/ English uses 'agenda' (singular) and 'agendas' (plural) instead of the Latin 'agendum' (singular) and 'agenda' (plural)

2/ English tends to just use 'graffiti' for singular and plural instead of the Italian 'graffito' (singular) and 'graffiti' (plural).

A small percentage of English speakers will use these, and other foreign phrases, correctly (i.e., according to their language of origin), but most do not. The longer a foreign term has been adopted into English use, the more likely will its native grammar rules be ignored or forgotten.

As you can see above, I have used 'e.g.' with two examples, which I have numbered to make it obvious that I have done so. I have also seen people label a list of examples using e.g.1, e.g. 2, etc. But I would not recommend this unless it was mandated as the house style of a particular journal.


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.


You can use "for example" for more than one examples. I use it quite often even. For example,

I have pens in many colors. For example, red, green, and blue.


English has more than a couple prepositional (and other) phrases that are self-contained "units" where the words within don't change with the surrounding words.

Basically it's best to think of the entire phrase "for example" as a single-word preposition.


This page has examples with 'for'


Well, it's not absolutely wrong to say "for examples" as common sense tells us. But "for example" is an idiom that's always used when you are giving an example of a thing or examples of more than one thing just as we use "for instance or e.g."

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