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I'd like to find out if the phrase "an example for this" is English usage. More specifically, I'd like to know if the preposition "for" is correct. The sentence was written by a German person.

I'm an American and know most of the differences between BrE and AmE, but had to pause and consider this one because I've never heard it said like that. I've always said it with the preposition "of": an example of this is . . . .

I inquired on Google, using various questions, but without success.

Is this another British versus American English difference? Or is it, as I suppose, a direct translation from German?

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    I'm English, and in the UK, it's normal to say "an example of this". I've never heard anyone say "an example for this". I can't comment on how it would translate from German. – Carl Smith Nov 17 '14 at 19:20
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    I use "of" myself but have heard "for" being used and I think it sounds completely fine and can't think of anything technically wrong with it. – codeMagic Nov 17 '14 at 19:23
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The correct preposition is "of". "Example for" is occasionally used in literature, but that is likely because of a typo or other mistake.

For proof, refer to the Ngram results: Google Ngram showing "example of" as much more common than "example for"

  • Much obliged for the information; it confirms what I thought. I'm going to have to look into this Ngram system. :-) – Babs Nov 17 '14 at 19:51
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There are 319 British National Corpus citations for an example of this and only one for an example for this. We don't say for in British English.

  • We are seeking a new Business Development Manager for Latin America. An example for the position would be someone with good experience in the industry and fluency in Spanish. – WS2 Nov 17 '14 at 19:34
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    @WS2 Using "example" there seems unnatural to me. I would say something like "A candidate for..." On the other hand, something like, "Parents should set an example for their children." makes sense. Though I think "for" would only be used with phrasal verbs like "set an example" or "be an example". There may be more examples I can't of right now. – Nick2253 Nov 17 '14 at 19:47
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    @Nick2253 An example for you to consider might be... – WS2 Nov 17 '14 at 21:18
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If you have to clarify what the example is alluding to, then 'for' or 'of' (my preference) is appropriate, but if the subject is obvious (usually immediately precedent), you don't need either 'for' or 'if'.

An example is ...

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I would almost always use "of" to refer to the subject of an example, as other answers have said. But I could use "for" in a slightly different sense, to refer to the purpose. For example*:

I thought the chapter on Newton's 2nd Law was confusing. We need an example for that.

* Interesting that we always say "for example" and not "of example".

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