Par exemple

On peut repeindre, par exemple
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Essential French Expression

Meaning for example
Register normal, informal
Pronunciation [pa reh gza(n) pl(eu)]
IPA   [pa ʀɛ gzã pl(ə)]

Usage notes: The French expression par exemple is extremely common, with both literal and figurative meanings. Literally, of course, it means “for example,” and is used much like in English:

Par exemple…

J’ai beaucoup d’idées pour cette pièce. Par exemple, on peut la repeindre ou bien la tapisser.   I have lots of ideas for this room. For example, we could repaint or wallpaper it.
On peut commencer avec ce livre, par exemple.   For example, we could start with this book, We could start with this book, maybe.
Asseyez-vous où vous voulez … par exemple [en indiquant une chaise]   Sit wherever you like … here, for instance [pointing at a chair]

Par exemple can also be used as a question, which is much less common in English:

– J’ai déjà fait plein de travail ce matin.
– Par exemple ?
  – I’ve already done tons of work this morning.
– For example? Such as? Like what?

The figurative meaning of par exemple or, often, ça par exemple is where it gets really interesting. These expressions indicate surprise, indignation, or disagreement, which are translated by completely different expressions in English:

– Il m’a offert sept cadeaux.
– Par exemple !
  – He gave me seven presents.
– Oh my! How about that!
– Elle a pris la voiture, sans me demander la permission.
– Ça par exemple !
  – She took the car, without asking me for permission.
– Well really! You’re kidding!

 Watch out for the spelling – the French word is exemple, not example.

 Related lesson

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