As a writer, I'm hypersensitive to reusing words. If I write "That sounds great" in the first sentence of an email, I won't sign off with "Have a great weekend."
Yet even if you're not as nitpicky as me (I hope you're not as nitpicky as me), mixing up the phrases you use is a good idea. This habit makes you a better speaker and writer and helps you avoid sounding repetitive. Whether you're in a meeting, drafting an email, talking on a sales call, giving a presentation, or writing a memo, using strong, persuasive, varied language gets your point across more effectively.
I've already written about alternatives for a number of common phrases, but what about "for example"? This one may come up most of all.
Without further ado, here are 13 different ways to say "for example."
For Example' Synonym Phrases
"For instance ..."
"To give you an idea …"
"As proof …"
"Suppose that …"
"To illustrate …"
"Pretend that …"
"To show you what I mean …"
"Let's say …"
"Case in point …"
"Such as ..."
"In particular ..."
1. "For instance ..."
"For example" and "for instance" can be used interchangeably.
"Our product has several features your reps will love; for instance, they can schedule a series of emails …"
2. "To give you an idea …"
Use this phrase to introduce a use case or example.
"The right training program will ‘stick' for months and months. To give you an idea, Abel Co.'s sales team's average productivity rate per rep increased by 30% in the first quarter after our workshop -- and it's stayed within two percentage points ever since."
3. "As proof …"
After you make a point, say "as proof" followed by an anecdote or statistic.
"Unhealthy snacks might be hurting employee satisfaction more than you'd think. As proof, HereNow's eNPS score went up 10 points once we revamped their office ‘pantry.'"
4. "Suppose that …"
This phrase makes your listener the star of the story, which helps grab and keep their attention.
"Surprisingly, most salespeople spend the majority of their day on non-selling tasks. Suppose that all the time you currently spend in your CRM could be put toward emailing, calling, and meeting with prospects."
5. "To illustrate …"
When you want to prove your point, try this expression.
"Everyone needs a good cybersecurity strategy -- even if you're not in a ‘risky' industry. To illustrate, we just protect a client in the consumer pet space, of all things, from an extremely sophisticated attack that would've taken every single one of their 100 stores offline for hours, maybe even days."
6. "Imagine …"
Asking the other person to imagine themselves in a relevant situation makes them likelier to believe you.
"Imagine every single franchise you own doubled their sales. What impact would that have on your life?"
7. "Pretend that …"
Along similar lines, "Pretend XYZ happened" is another effective alternative to "for example."
"Onboarding has a huge impact on your retention rate. Pretend new employees could spend their first 10 days learning about your product, team, culture, and customers. What impact would that have on their performance?"
8. "To show you what I mean …"
If you're using content -- like a customer testimonial, video, blog post, case study, press release, etc. -- to prove your point, this phrase comes in handy.
"Millennials work harder when they feel they are contributing to a larger purpose. To show you what I mean, here's an article about what happened when we rolled out a ‘Danco Cares' internal marketing campaign."
9. "Let's say …"
"Let's say" is a folksy alternative to "imagine" or "suppose."
"Let's say you could attract five times more people to your website."
10. "Case in point …"
For the times you've made a bold claim and need to back it up with the perfect example, go for "case in point …"
"It might sound too good to be true, but simply adding more recycle bins can make your restaurant produce far less trash. Case in point: We put three bins inside Pita Palace's Westwood location and removed one trash bin, and waste decreased by 13.9%."
This Latin abbreviation (which is always lowercase) means "for example."
"You have a lot of opportunity to grow, e.g., it doesn't sound like you've optimized your pricing page in years."
12. "Such as ..."
If you need to illustrate a certain point, use "such as " to explain further.
"Clients who used the Standard CRM saw positive changes for their sales teams, such as productivity increases of 15% and a 40% increase in sales revenue."
13. "In particular ..."
Is there a certain section of your message you'd like to emphasize? If so, try using "in particular" to highlight the areas of emphasis.
"With a custom email sending IP address, your email strategy will reap many benefits. In particular, you'll see an improvement in email deliverability."
With 13 alternatives to choose from, you'll never have to use "for example" again and again ... well, again. To learn more, check out this follow-up thank you email next.
Originally published Feb 6, 2019 5:00:00 PM, updated February 22 2018