BBC Learning English


For example and for instance are completely interchangeable, so it is just a matter of personal preference as to which you decide to use:

• 'There are a number of rules you must abide by. For instance, you may not use the swimming pool unsupervised.'
• 'You have all made silly mistakes on this trip. John, for example, failed to secure the boat properly and Adam took the jet ski out when the sea was far too rough.'


Learner's Dictionary

There is very little difference between for example and for instance. They have the same or nearly the same meaning, and they are used in the same way. Both of these expressions are used when a speaker or writer wants to introduce a specific person or thing that helps to explain or confirm a general statement. Note, however, that for example is used much more frequently than for instance, particularly in formal contexts, so in academic writing it is a safer choice.

Below are some examples with for example and for instance. In any of them, either expression could be used.
1.The situation is slowly improving. Last month, for example, the company achieved record sales in Europe.
2.It was obvious that her memory was failing. For example, she would often forget where she put her car keys.
3.A lot of my friends were there—John and Linda, for example.
4.Poor balance is a problem for a lot of older people, like my grandmother, for instance.
5.Mobile devices are becoming less expensive. Sophisticated smartphones, for instance, can now be purchased for less than $100.


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