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I am not a native speaker. Looking at the dictionary both sentences could be correct. I think in the below example "example feature" is the right choice.

  1. These two example features are both optional.
  2. These two exemplary features are both optional.

What is correct word?

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With only three letters between them, and some similar connotations, 'ex...ary' and 'ex...e' can be mistaken for each other. However, there is little to choose between them; both express the same thing. –  Elberich Schneider Aug 16 '12 at 8:07
    
@XavierVidalHernández example and exemplary don't express the same thing at all. –  Matt Эллен Aug 16 '12 at 13:17
    
@Matt -- 'your life is exemplary!','your life is an example!' -- Having the second one an idiomatic meaning, do you know what is the difference between the two? –  Elberich Schneider Aug 16 '12 at 13:28
    
yes. One means it is inherently good (exemplary) one means it is an example (example). There is no context for the second, so it is not known whether it is good or bad. –  Matt Эллен Aug 16 '12 at 13:37

1 Answer 1

It is unclear what those sentences mean and a native speaker would be unlikely to produce either. Example is a noun and describes an item that may be taken as representative of a class of things. Exemplary is an adjective that often describes behaviour that may serve as a model for imitation. The two words are not interchangeable. If I may guess at the meaning, I think what you probably need is something like These two features are given as examples and are optional, but it would be necessary to see the wider context to be sure.

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"One means it is inherently good (exemplary)" (this is also the info I got from a friend who is good in English. But you also mention "Exemplary is an adjective that often describes behaviour that may serve as a model for imitation.". This is confusing for me. In German you write "beispielhafte features", and "beispielhaft" may be translated as exemplary or exemplarily. Does ".... mentions features .... These two exemplarily features are both otional" make more sense? –  mrsteve Aug 16 '12 at 17:28
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@mrsteve: The line between adjectives and adverbs is rather sharper in English than it is in German. ‘Exemplary’ is an adjective and 'exemplarily’ is the adverb derived from it. It follows that you cannot say 'exemplarily features’. –  Barrie England Aug 16 '12 at 17:49

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