9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[in-stuh ns] /ˈɪn stəns/
a case or occurrence of anything:
fresh instances of oppression.
an example put forth in proof or illustration:
to cite a few instances.
Law. the institution and prosecution of a case.
Archaic. urgency in speech or action.
Obsolete. an impelling motive.
verb (used with object), instanced, instancing.
to cite as an instance or example.
to exemplify by an instance.
verb (used without object), instanced, instancing.
to cite an instance.
at the instance of, at the urging or suggestion of:
He applied for the assistantship at the instance of his professor.
for instance, as an example; for example:
If you were to go to Italy, for instance, you would get a different perspective on our culture.
Origin of instance
1300-50; Middle English < Latin instantia presence, urgency (Medieval Latin: case, example). See instant, -ance
Related forms
counterinstance, noun
uninstanced, adjective
2. See case1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for instance
  • But others said that there was no conspiracy to unearth, and that the case represented merely a unique instance of bad judgment.
  • In the case of an earthquake, for instance, the agents bid among themselves to allocate ambulances.
  • For instance, in the case of planar spine motions, only three input parameters are required.
  • Still, there can be awkward lulls-between two text messages, for instance.
  • Studies have shown that exposure to sarcasm enhances creative problem solving, for instance.
  • It would be great for growing herbs or lettuces on a balcony, for instance.
  • Note: a comic remains in the library until the last instance is deleted.
  • Sometimes sacrificing a piece is painful but ultimately may win the game, for instance.
  • Handing out machetes for instance or writing a book about his campaign.
  • GM trees could be designed so that they ease paper processing, for instance.
British Dictionary definitions for instance


a case or particular example
for instance, for or as an example
a specified stage in proceedings; step (in the phrases in the first, second, etc, instance)
urgent request or demand (esp in the phrase at the instance of)
  1. an expression derived from another by instantiation
  2. See substitution (sense 4b)
(archaic) motive or reason
verb (transitive)
to cite as an example
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: case, example): from Medieval Latin instantia example, (in the sense: urgency) from Latin: a being close upon, presence, from instāns pressing upon, urgent; see instant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for instance

mid-14c., "urgency," from Old French instance "eagerness, anxiety, solicitation" (13c.), from Latin instantia "presence, effort intention; earnestness, urgency," literally "a standing near," from instans (see instant). In Scholastic logic, "a fact or example" (early 15c.), from Medieval Latin instantia, used to translate Greek enstasis. This led to use in phrase for instance "as an example" (1650s), and the noun phrase To give (someone) a for instance (1953, American English).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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instance in Technology
An individual object of a certain class. While a class is just the type definition, an actual usage of a class is called "instance". Each instance of a class can have different values for its instance variables, i.e. its state.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with instance


see under for example
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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