“For example” is one of those phrases that gets added in as a specific element in writing. Sometimes, commas come before, while other times, commas come after. This article will explain all the necessary rules to help you understand how “for example” should be punctuated.
Should I Place A Comma Before Or After “For Example”?
You should place a comma before “for example” when it is part of a new parenthetical element. We use it in this way when it starts a new clause to add information. A comma should come after “for example” whenever an example is provided.
It’s very common to see a comma come after “for example” because it’s based on the example that comes with the phrase.
- For example, you might see the comma appear as follows.
If we start a new sentence with “for example,” you should always expect the comma after it.
- You can, for example, also write in this way.
If we do not start a new sentence with “for example,” it is instead used to start a new clause. In this case, it’s suitable to have a comma come directly before it.
These are the two main ideas you need to understand before using “for example” in your own writing. Once you’ve spent some time learning how these forms work, you’ll better understand it overall.
When Should I Place A Comma After “For Example”?
Let’s go over them a little closer. There are a few different rules that can make a comma come after “for example,” and we’ll try to cover each one.
A comma should always come after “for example” when it starts a sentence. It’s used as an introductory clause and is immediately followed by a new example, so a comma is required. It is also necessary to use a comma directly after it, even when it’s a mid-sentence inclusion.
Realistically, it does not matter where we place “for example” in the sentence. The only time that a comma wouldn’t directly follow it is when it comes at the very end of a sentence (where a period would be more appropriate).
Perhaps these examples will help you to figure out the comma usage:
- There are many ways we could achieve this. For example, you could look into cleaner ways to get energy.
- I have a few ideas. For example, you should be able to generate more income by doing one of these three things.
- I know of a few different dance moves to help. For example, you might benefit from this one.
- I cannot think of anything better than, for example, being able to find the time to get it done before it’s too late.
- You should know of a few better ways to do it; for example, there are a number of ways we can make this work without even leaving the room!
As you can see, “for example” is almost always followed by a comma. Whether it starts a sentence, comes after another comma, or comes after a semi-colon, the comma after “for example” is required.
When Should I Place A Comma Before “For Example”?
Now, let’s check out how to place a comma before “for example.” It’s not as common as placing one after, but it does still happen.
You can place a comma before “for example” when it is used in the middle of a sentence. In this way, it is treated as a mid-sentence clause (and a comma should come after it as well). We can also place a comma before it when “for example” ends a sentence.
It’s most common to see “for example” with only a comma before it when it ends a sentence. After all, if it comes at some other point in a sentence, it’s likely that we’ll need to place a comma directly after it as well.
Some people do omit the second comma after “for example” when the overall sentence seems too wordy to make sense.
It’s acceptable to drop certain types of punctuation in some cases, as long as it makes the overall structure of the sentence more readable.
These examples should make it a little easier to understand this form:
- If you can, for example, make money without doing any of the work, I will find a way to hire you for this product.
- You couldn’t find a better way to do this, for example. I’ve already looked into it myself.
- I knew there were a few extra ways to do this. The one I tried, for example, was clearly the superior method.
- You should have told me about your methods. The one you got away with, for example.
- I think his method was clear. He made sure that he was going to help out those around him, for example.
We’ve included examples to cover the mid-sentence and end-of-sentence ideas about “for example.” It shows how commas work with the phrase, but again, it’s rare to see it in the middle of a sentence without a comma also coming after it.
When Should I Place A Comma Before AND After “For Example”?
One of the more common ways to punctuate “for example” is with a comma on either side. It might help to know how this is done.
“For example” should have a comma on either side of it when it’s part of a mid-sentence clause. We place a comma before it to start a new clause, and a comma comes directly after it to explain what the example is going to be.
As we’ve shown in previous sections, a mid-sentence element will have to be enclosed in commas. This means that there will be one before and after “for example,” and it would help to include this.
It breaks up the flow of the sentence nicely, which allows someone to take a brief pause or breath before covering what the example is going to be.
You might place a comma on either side of “for example” when using it like so:
- I can, for example, provide you with some services that will help you generate plenty of traffic to your site.
- You should, for example, take a leave out of his book when it comes to working hard to get what you want.
- She will, for example, need to be able to do this without guidance next time.
- I can do whatever it takes and will, for example, make the most of the situation when it arises again.
- There are plenty of ways I can sort this out. I could, for example, make it all go away by paying them off for what they know!
There are no specific rules to state where the mid-sentence “for example” should be placed. However, you might notice from these examples that it’s always placed directly after a pronoun and verb combination.
It’s most common to see it in this way because we use the pronoun and verb combination to show what we want to do. The “for example” element then gives us a moment to talk about an example of just one of the many things we can do related to the verb choice.
Is It Ever Correct To Use “For Example” Without A Comma?
It’s very rare to come across “for example” without a comma. However, it is still acceptable in some cases. It mainly depends on style choices, and some people will opt to remove the comma in favor of a more readable sentence.
The most common way to see “for example” without a comma is when it’s placed within parentheses.
In the case of it being in parentheses, “for example” has a parenthesis come before it (meaning there is no room for a comma). The comma that usually comes after “for example” is an optional structure choice when enclosed in parentheses.
Here are a few examples that should help you figure this one out. Check out how the parentheses allow us to remove the comma:
- If you didn’t think it was wise (for example because someone told you otherwise), then I’ll be happy to learn more about your thoughts.
- I had a couple of ideas that would help (for example the one I shared with the workers), which made it make a bit more sense.
- He didn’t want to be there to work with them because of their attitudes (for example the way they treated each other last weekend).
- You will not make it better for yourself when you do this (for example by frequently messing yourself up).
- I had a few ideas (for example that would help us out), but nobody wanted to listen to what I had to say.
Omitting the comma from “for example” in parentheses is a stylistic choice. Some people think it’s harder to read when the comma is included after “for example,” which is why it’s dropped in these cases.
However, it would also be grammatically correct to write all of the above sentences with a comma, so make sure you understand that if someone tells you that you are wrong. The truth is, both forms are correct.
You may also like: Comma After “e.g.” and “i.e.” – Explained For Beginners
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.