Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you keep using the phrase “for example…” when you are sharing stories in English?

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle share three English phrases you can use instead of “for example…” when telling a story.

Listen in and learn how to effectively give more details when you are conveying a point in English.

Find out what else you can say that will set the stage for your story, especially one with long examples.

Sharing Stories

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle discuss sharing stories and allowing your listeners to put images to your stories.

In order to do this, we often use the phrase “for example…” Using this phrase enables you to set a setting or moment to your story that the listener can picture in their heads.

Lindsay mentions that using “for example…” is a textbook way of adding more details to your story.

If your story becomes too long, you can overuse it. Michelle agrees with this and adds that at times, it can also sound too formal or may not be the right phrase to use when telling your story.

Lindsay and Michelle share other phrase options instead of using “for example…” to avoid sounding like a textbook when telling a story.

This can be very helpful when you get to the IELTS Speaking Part 2 where the Examiner will ask you to share a story.

Take note and practice the phrases shared in this episode to come prepared for your IELTS exam and your everyday life.

Phrases to Use Instead of “For Example…”

There are several ways to talk about a longer example in your story.

Lindsay and Michelle list below a few phrases you can use for either school, work or regular conversations when telling a story.

This is a good way to prepare your listeners for what you’re talking about and to smoothly transition through the events in your story.

Here they are:

  • Imagine

This can be used when you are selling something or when you are pitching a new idea at work.

Lindsay mentions that you can usually hear this in infomercials wherein it’s a commercial on your television selling you random products.


“Imagine you are trying to get your work done. Your phone won’t stop ringing. Your baby won’t stop crying. We have the solution.”

  • Let’s say

This can be used when you are teaching something that needs imagery like Algebra or Geometry.

This can easily help them visualize and make your story tangible and better understand what you are talking about.


“Let’s say you have two apples. You lose one. Then you find another one.”

  • Let me paint you a picture

This can be used to convince someone.

In sales, a person can use this phrase to let the other person see the benefits and advantages of a certain product.


“Let me paint you a picture. We are on the beach. It’s 10:00 am. The sun is shining. It’s beautiful. “

Michelle points out that you will notice that these phrases are in the present tense.

This is because you really want to put the listener there, to make them feel that they are in the story.

You want them to be immersed and take part in the setting and feels of your story.

This is very useful in many contexts. Lindsay shares that you may think this can only be used for sales but that’s not the case.

In life in general we are always “selling” when we try to convince people to believe in our point of view.


Lindsay and Michelle do a quick roleplay using the different phrases shared in this episode.

For the sake of this example, they used all of the phrases in a normal conversation.

You wouldn’t be expected to use all of them when you’re telling your story.

The setting in this roleplay is Lindsay and Michelle are friends.

Lindsay is convincing Michelle to buy a new phone.

Lindsay: Come on, you should get it!

Michelle: Why?

Lindsay: Well let’s say your phone breaks. You are frustrated and you can’t take any pictures of your kids.

Michelle: Yeahhh that’s a scary thought.

Lindsay: Exactly! Now let me paint you a picture. You already have a new phone. There is tons of storage on it. The camera is amazing. You are so happy.

Michelle: That does sound nice.

Lindsay: Now imagine your baby does something cute on vacation. You can have all the photos you need!

Michelle: You’re right!

In this roleplay, it may sound like Lindsay is a salesperson but your friends can be the best people to convince you to switch to something better.

Lindsay points out an insight that in life we are often selling something.

When a parent is teaching his or her kind about Math, they are convincing them to like Math and appreciate the complexities of it.

This can also be used to convince someone to go and watch a TV series you recently enjoyed and you want them to experience that joy you felt.

All these examples can be used in different contexts.

They are great for convincing, selling, showing potential problems, anticipating situations, and more!


Sharing stories is fun.

It’s always the easiest way to build a connection with others by sharing your own experiences and finding similarities with others.

Don’t take the fun out of sharing what you want to share by sounding like a textbook.

Vividly and clearly share details of your story by immersing them in the setting you want them to visualize for themselves.

What phrase will you be using in your next storytelling?

Share it in the comments down below and we’d love to see you practice and bring your English skills to a higher level.

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