Commas with 'For Example' and 'For Instance'

Use a comma before and after for example and for instance in the middle of a sentence. Replace the first comma by a semicolon to introduce a complete sentence with these expressions.

Use a comma before and after for example (or for instance) in the middle of a sentence.

I would recommend low-sugar fruits, for example, strawberries or avocados.

I would recommend low-sugar fruits for example strawberries or avocados.

Replace the first comma by a semicolon to introduce a complete sentence.

My son is mentally strong; for instance, he accepts challenges and is confident.

Other quotation marks, such as periods, parentheses, or em dashes, replace a mid-sentence comma or semicolon.

Mediterranean countries are incredible—for example, almost every city in Spain has a church with a valuable work of art in it

1. Punctuation Marks with for example and for instance

"For example" and "for instance" introduce a specific person or thing to illustrate what has been recently said. These expressions should be surrounded by commas because they add extra information and/or interrupt the sentence flow.

The situation is bad. Last week, for instance, the company lost $1.2 million.

The situation is bad. Last week for instance the company lost $1.2 million.

We also place a comma before and after for example (or for instance) to introduce a list of items.

We need some school supplies, for example, pencils, rulers, and books.

We need some school supplies for example pencils, rulers, and books.

To introduce a complete sentence, replace the first comma by a semicolon.

Bring any two foods; for example, apples and nuts are in short supply.

If the list of items occurs in mid-sentence, you need an additional comma after the list.

You can make, for example, baked salmon or chicken, for dinner.

You can make, for example, baked salmon or chicken for dinner.

If for example or for instance comes at the beginning of a sentence, you still need a comma after it.

There are many misconceptions about Africa. For example, it snows in Morocco.

If for example (or for instance) comes at the end of a sentence, replace the second comma by a period.

You can go to Japan, for example.

"For example" and "for instance" can also be preceded by an open parenthesis symbol or —an em dash— to help us illustrate a general statement or add an explanatory note.

Some team players (for example, the goalkeeper and the striker) are French.

Many participants—for example, Rebecca and James—studied at my university.

The abbreviation e.g. is just another way of saying "for example". Follow the same rules when using commas with e.g. since both terms are interchangeable. It is also important to learn the use of comma with such as, including, like, and other synonyms of for example.

Recommended: Commas with conjunctive adverbs

2. More Examples

  • It is obvious that Olivia is acquiring new skills. For example, she can now speak Spanish and German.
  • Social media addiction is becoming a problem for many young people, like my daughter, for instance.
  • I can name many good sources of vitamin C, for example, oranges, lemons, and strawberries.
  • You are young and healthy, so you can choose whatever sport you want (for example, tennis, soccer, or basketball).
  • You can invest in stocks, gold, or silver, for instance.
  • Learn the most important facts about the Industrial Revolution; for example, it began in Britain and the first modern factory was a cotton spinning mill.
  • You can buy, for example, flowers or cakes, for her birthday.
  • You need to decide what you want to study at university, for instance, general engineering, data analysis, or computer programming.
  • I like reading ancient books—Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, for example.
  • Avoid pre-packaged products and use healthy ingredients; for instance, olive oil, avocados, or nuts.

3. Conclusion

These guidelines will help you punctuate correctly the expressions for example and for instance in English:

  1. Enclose for example and for instance in commas when using them in the middle of a sentence.
  2. Use a semicolon or a period, instead of a comma, to introduce a complete sentence with for example or for instance.
  3. Remember that other quotation marks (including periods, parentheses, and em dashes) replace and eliminate commas.
Share this article: Link copied to clipboard!

You might also like...

Do You Need a Comma With 'PLEASE'?

When to Use a Comma With 'Regularly'

When to Use a Comma With 'Commonly'