Why is 'for examples' wrong?

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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?

Tulip Saita

Posted 2016-10-05T11:52:05.210

Reputation:

2Because 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 – 2016-10-05T12:12:06.157

7In my view it's not necessarily wrong, just not idiomatic. – None – 2016-10-05T12:20:30.260

1if 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. – None – 2016-10-05T12:52:15.910

1@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." – None – 2016-10-05T12:52:37.670

2You 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 – 2016-10-05T17:00:26.560

Answers

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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.

Dean MacGregor

Posted 2016-10-05T11:52:05.210

Reputation: 275

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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.

Davo

Posted 2016-10-05T11:52:05.210

Reputation: 3 861