ASL University ►

American Sign Language: "example"

The concept of "example" can be signed by doing a double motion version of the sign SHOW.



Another way to sign "EXAMPLE" is to sign: "FOR SHOW" (which would mean: "For example..."


You might also see the sign "EXAMPLE" done as an initialized version of "SHOW" (using an "E" handshape).

If you don't "need" to use the "E" then don't do it. Just use the sign "SHOW."  Initialization can help distinguish between various English concepts. This could be helpful in certain classroom situations and for developing English literacy in the classroom. For example, with initialization you could use the letter "D" to mean "demonstrate."  But don't go overboard on initialization.  In everyday conversations, if you want use the word "demonstrate" but it really means "to show," just use the standard sign for "SHOW."  Otherwise you'll be doing "Signed English."


In a message dated 6/23/____ 5:30:56 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ndnlittlecrow@____ writes:
Is the sign EXAMPLE directional? I mean if i started it away from me and brought it towards me then would it mean "You show/give me an example"? Or is it not directional and only moves away from the body and only means "example"? The reason I ask is because EXAMPLE is an initialized form of SHOW, so I was wondering if the same "usage rules" applied to initialized forms of words.  
- Roo
Hi Roo,
The word "show" is a verb.  You can establish "verb agreement" via "directionality."  That means you can modify the movement of the sign "SHOW" to indicate who is showing what to whom.
The word "example" is a noun thus we do not have the same freedom to employ directionality that we would with a verb.
"Example" is somewhat of a special case though because it does have a rare "verb" form: "exemplify."
So, technically, you could construct a sentence along the lines of, "Would you mind exemplifying that for me?"  Which would make a case for employing directionality with the sign "example."
On a personal level, as I sit here signing to myself, playing with the sign, (my family are used to seeing me "sign to myself" and have long since given up worrying whether it is insanity or some other reason) and seeing what "feels" right--I note that it feels okay to sign "give an example to" as one sign/movement, but it "feels" a little "off" to sign "give me an example" using just one sign/movement but still passable.
Dr. Bill

You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University
ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars

Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy DONATE (Thanks!)
(You don't need a PayPal account. Just look for the credit card logos and click continue.)

Another way to help is to buy something from the ASLU "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)   CHECK IT OUT >

Bandwidth slow?  Check out "" (a free mirror of less traffic, fast access)   VISIT >


back.gif (1674 bytes)