Last modified on 2 February 2013, at 17:26

Talk:for instance

Return to "for instance" page.

If there is a difference between for instance & for example, please someone explain it under usage notes. If not let's change the translations into the {{trans-see}} template. ----Dixtosa 13:38, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

This is why we have wikilinks. There are some differences discernable from the meanings of instance and example. DCDuring TALK 14:01, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
I've added a sense that is distinct from for example. There are a lot of translations that could use checking, to be moved, deleted, or replaced. DCDuring TALK 14:37, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

RFD discussion.Edit

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Discussion moved from WT:RFV.

Rfv-sense: Used to introduce one or more of a series of essentially identical, recurring cases.

Am I stupid or something, but I cannot see how this differs from the preceding sense, which is "as an example"? --Hekaheka (talk) 16:40, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
They are synonymous to me. I think DCDuring was highlighting the difference between an example (possibly fictional) and an instance (something that has actually occurred), but in practice "for instance" is used for hypotheticals too. Equinox 16:44, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Although for instance and for example are often used as if simply synonymous, they are definitely distinguishable. For example, it would be less felicitous to say ?"A natural disaster, for instance, an earthquake, ..." than "A natural disaster, for example, an earthquake, ...". To say "Earthquakes along the San Andreas fault, for instance, at Loma Prieta in 1989" would be more suggestive of the recurring nature of these earthquakes than, the same with for example. I don't think the semantic distinction is negligible relative to, for instance, the orthographic distinctions that we accommodate.
I hope the cites illustrate the distinction. For the common usage that does not make the distinction, using {{trans-see}} would help ensure that translations would be at the more common term. This is just one instance in which {{trans-see}} could be and should have been beneficially applied. For example occurs more than three times as often at COCA. DCDuring TALK 17:46, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
@DCD: I guess I don't understand your examples. It might be dialectal, but I can't see any distinguishment in connotation or semantic value between these two senses, or between these two terms. I would send it to RFD as {{rfd-redundant}}. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 03:21, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Do you recognize any distinction between example and instance? DCDuring TALK 03:58, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but I mentally consider the phrases separately from their constituents. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 04:10, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
The dictionaries I have access to unanimously define "for instance", "for example" and "as an example" as synonymous without mentioning any nuances. In which of the usage examples would "for example" change the meaning and how? --Hekaheka (talk) 13:11, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I have looked at for instance at OneLook Dictionary Search. I believe that those references are missing the distinction. I believe that the senses of instance distinct from those of example carry over into some usage in which for instance implies that the item(s) being introduced are virtually identical replicas of the what is being instantiated. Items introduced by for example are less likely to be.
I suppose that I am saying that these terms are not completely bleached of their original meaning as part of grammaticization, just as etc and et al retain their original meaning among some writers and speakers. DCDuring TALK 14:22, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
"I believe that those references are missing the distinction" > Then, I guess, in order to prove your point, you should provide some citations which demonstrate the distinction. --Hekaheka (talk) 10:01, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I tried. To me they do. I find it hard to believe that the components of expressions lose all independent ability to contribute to meaning. Maybe it is just something too dainty, at the level of stylistics, which a multilingual dictionary can't support. DCDuring TALK 12:39, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
To me, the two are interchangeable. This seems to one of those cases of weakening distinctions where only dogs, bats, dolphins and some traditionalists can hear the difference... ;) Chuck Entz (talk) 13:33, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Where do I fit in?
I wonder whether the reuse of instance in computing will reinvigorate the distinction. DCDuring TALK 13:55, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
This is really an RFD discussion, I think: it's a question of whether the senses are redundant or not. - -sche (discuss) 20:47, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

The question is: should the two senses be combined? - -sche (discuss) 20:49, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
merge I can't see the distinction - All the citations would have the same meaning for me if they had "for example" instead of "for instance". I think that "one or more of a series of essentially identical, recurring cases" comes within the ambit of definition 1 of example, "Something that is representative of all such things in a group."
I note that all the translations offered for this supposedly distinct sense are the same as the translations offered on for example (Of course, that's not decisive - English might be alone in making that semantic distinction). Furius (talk) 21:26, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I missed the RFV discussion but to me, too, FWIW, the phrases mean the same thing as one another. AFAICT the same is true of other editors who have chimed in except DCDuring and, according to Hekaheka, of dictionaries. There must be some dialect — perhapsit's only DCDuring's idiolect — that distinguishes them, but without clear cites (and the ones currently in the entry are to me cites of for example as well as they are of the second sense we have for for instance) I say delete unless further evidence is brought to the discussion. (Note that there's also no evidence at [1] or [2] (a 1992 alt.usage.english thread) supporting our entry's claim, though they do mention other possible fine distinctions.)​—msh210 (talk) 00:49, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I can see the distinction that DC is trying to make, especially in the IT usage, but I can't quite put it into words, so we should probably treat them as synonyms for most purposes. (The OED has "example: a typical instance" and "instance: a fact or example".) Dbfirs 15:20, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
This discussion has been around for three months now. Eight people have contributed to it, six of them favoring merger, one saying that the two definitions should be treated as synonymous at least for now and one defending the distinction. May I conclude that there's a sufficient consensus for merger? --Hekaheka (talk) 17:35, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I think so, though I can still hear the difference myself. Although there may some usage that would support the distinction, it has eluded me so far. That my ear must be more highly refined than most is my consolation. DCDuring TALK 21:58, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
Merged. - -sche (discuss) 22:41, 16 November 2012 (UTC)