Exemplification Variety

Part I. Frequency of Exemplification Phrases

As developing writers, English learners (EL) write for different purposes such as arguing for an idea or persuading someone to do something. In their writing, ELs often give examples via different phrases (e.g., for example). We refer to these as exemplification phrases. ELs like other developing writers might use certain exemplification phrases more frequently than others. Expanding ELs’ repertoire of these phrases can improve their ability to integrate them in their writing, and may improve the quality of writing since repetition can be distracting and less effective in some cases.

Search queryInstances in matching texts Normed (per 1 million) Texts containing term
“such as”1,135960.43494
“For example”572484.02340
“For instance”161136.24123
“for example”143121.01102
“for instance”3227.0830
“an example of”2622.0025
(combined)2,0691,750.78674
Table 1. Frequency Information on Exemplification Phrases in Argumentative Papers in Crow

To the instructor

Search query: the word or phrase searched in the Crow corpus
Instances in matching texts: how many times the searched word or phrase occurs in the corpus
Normed (per 1 million): how many times the searched word or phrase occurs in the corpus per 1 million words. This is important when you want to compare frequencies of different words or phrases in texts of different lengths and with a different number of texts
Texts containing term: how many texts in the Crow corpus the searched word or phrase occurs in.

For this activity, you can ask students to have a piece of their own writing available to help them answer some of the questions.

Questions

  1. What information can you see in the table? 
  2. What does “instances in matching texts mean”? What does “normed per 1 million” mean?
  3. What is the most common exemplification phrase in the argumentative writing? What is the least common exemplification phrase?
  4. Why do we see both capitalized “For example” and lower-case “for example” in this table?  What do these different frequencies tell us about how these are used?
  5. Why is “such as” not capitalized?
  6. Based on the feedback you have received on your writing, do you think you use any of these phrases very frequently in your own writing? 
  7. Are there any exemplification phrases that you are not using in your writing that you would like to incorporate more?

Part II. Noticing patterns around exemplification phrases

Read the sentences and answer the questions below.

  1. As English has been widely used by people from different parts of the world, English has evolved to have a particularly large number of variations with different pronunciations, such as Asian English, Singaporean English and Middle Eastern English.
  2. The most common illness includes office-related disease, such as neck pain, low back pain and deteriorated vision.
  3. The rising costs of higher education and recent employment market conditions have made people tend to evaluate the importance of education based on measurable outcomes, such as employment or salary.
  4. He used positive body language, such as smiling and facing the audiences, to show his respect to the audiences and people who made the statement “text is killing the language”.
  5. However, we can improve this by using more technologies, such as blocking the access to some other non-academic related websites during lectures.
  6. In addition, some people also argue that student clubs cultivate bad habits such as drinking, smoking and skipping classes.

Questions

  1. Look at the sentences (1-3) above containing examples with “such as”. What do you notice about the sentence structure preceding and following “such as”? What kinds of words are used as examples following “such as”?
  2. Now look at the sentences (4-6) also containing examples with “such as”. What do you notice about the sentence structure preceding and following “such as”? What kinds of words are used as examples following “such as”? Are they different/similar from the words in sentences (1-3)? 
  3. Based on these examples, can you come up with the pattern for using for “such as”?

  1. Some programs do incorporate coed sports for the younger community but it is rare. For instance, t-ball is a sport that both girls and boys play together.
  2. This source uses several statistics to prove their views on lowering the drinking age. For instance, this document discusses how different countries have different drinking ages like France, Germany, Italy, and so on.
  3. While the world is filled with rushing and individual business, it seems more significant for the people to do some noble things, for instance , donating a little money for some mosquito nets to African children.
  4. Different types of music can reduce the amount of stress, for instance, classical and self-relaxing music.

Questions

  1. Look at the sentences (7-8) above containing examples with “For instance” at the beginning of the sentence. 
    • What do you notice about the sentence structure following “For instance”? 
    • Is it similar/different to the examples with “such as”? 
    • Can you just replace “For instance” with “such as” here? Why? Why not?
  2. Now look at the sentences (9-10) also containing examples with “for instance” in the middle of the sentence. 
    • What do you notice about the sentence structure following “for instance”? 
    • Is it similar/different to the examples with “such as”? 
  3. Can you replace “for instance” with “such as” here? Why? Why not?
  4. Based on these examples, can you find a grammatical pattern of use for “For instance” at the beginning of the sentence and “for instance” in the middle of the sentence? 
  5. Bonus: Are there any other patterns of use for “for instance” that you can think of that are not represented here?

Now look at the concordance lines from Crow and answer questions below.

Concordance lines for such as

Concordance lines for For instance

Concordance lines for for instance

Questions

  1. In the concordance lines above find examples based on the grammatical patterns of use you identified before. 
  2. Are there any examples that did not fit the patterns you identified?
  3. Are they any examples from the patterns you identified that are not present in the concordance lines?


Part III. Now it’s your turn!

Look through your own writing and underline examples of these phrases. Are you using different structures? Where might you be able to provide more variety?