I wonder, does 'such as' mean "for example" only or can it mean both "for example" and "comprising"? In other words, does it say anything at all regarding whether the following list is complete? Lexico simply defines it as "for example", but I've come across a few instances where it feels like it's used before a complete list.

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    IMO "such as" won't introduce a complete list, but some examples to illustrate a point. It might "feel like" a complete list, but that would be specifically stated to leave no doubt. Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


Using "such as" explicitly means that what it's introducing is not an exhaustive list (that's really what the phrase is for). There may be cases from time to time where somebody does use "such as" with an exhaustive list, but even then the presence of the phrase implies some sort of "hedging" (that is, "I'm not entirely sure this list is exhaustive, so I'm putting in 'such as' just to be safe").

If you have any examples you can quote where it feels like a complete list, we might be able to address that in more detail, but in general, I'd say the answer to your question is "no, it pretty much always means an incomplete (or possibly incomplete) list".

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