Using Example

Provide Evidence with Examples

For writers, the most important words in the English language are—

For example,
For instance,

Using examples is basic to human communication. People use them in almost every spoken communication that goes on for any length of time. Jesus used examples, in His case called parables, to preach the will of God. We are so used to uses examples that a major theorist says we should be called Homo narrans – beings of narrative – instead of Homo sapiens.  

Transitioning into an Example

The easiest way to insert an example is to use For example or For instance.

After For example or For instance, you must have a sentence:

Incorrect:       For example, the time I was living for four years with the Inuit.
Correct:          For example, I once lived with was the Inuit for four years.

Make Examples Specific

Do not summarize several experiences. Instead, be precise. If possible—

    • Refer to one experience only, so choose an experience that best illustrates your point(s).
    • Choose an experience that took place over a short period of time – a few hours, or a day at most.
    • Use an example that only involved 1-2 people.
    • Do not include information not related to the point(s) you are making.
    • Include some sensory details: things you—
      • Saw
      • Heard
      • Tasted
      • Smelled
      • Touched
      • Felt emotionally
    • It is okay to “cheat” on little things, such as sensory details. For instance, if it was sunny that day but you feel the scene will be more effective if it was stormy, then it’s fine to change it.
    • Feel free to use dialog, but keep it short and to the point.

Grammar and Example

  • Examples need to be in past tense. The verbs need to end in a d, t, or ud sound:

For example, my dog once wagged her tail so hard so stirred up some wasps.
For example, one time we went fishing in Texas.
For example, my family all contracted Covid.

    • Do not use you. It generalizes the experience. Use I/me.
    • Do not use this if referring something in the past, as in This car was coming at us. Instead, use the or a: A car was coming at us.
    • If you use dialog, use quotation marks when someone starts speaking and when they stop.
      • Start a new paragraph if the person talking changes.
      • Do not use anything for said except
      • If you use I/he/she said, then use a comma.


Small-Group Activity






Individual or Small-Group Activity

Complete the exercise:         Alberta

Optional Activity