Instance or Instants?

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Instance or Instants?

What is the difference between "instance" and "instants"?
  • An "instance" is an occurrence or an example.
    • I am talking about the instance when you put the wrong oil in your lawn mower.
    • (When "instance" means occurrence, it often carries the connotation of being an example.)
    • Consider the lily for instance.
    • (The term "for instance" is a common way of saying "for example.")
  • An "instant" is moment of time. The plural is "instants." ("Instant" usually means "a brief moment of time.")
    • The light bulb lasted no longer than a few instants.
    • Hang on. I'll be there in two instants.
instance or instants?

More about "Instance" and "Instants"

The words instance and instants are homonyms (more specifically, homophones) because they sound the same. However, their meanings are quite different.


The noun "instance" means an occurrence or an example.

Example sentences with "instance":
  • This is another instance of Mark's poor attitude.
  • Take a look at his latest project for instance.


The word "instants" is the plural of of the noun "instant," which means "a moment of time." An instant usual means "a brief moment of time."

Example sentences with "instants":
  • There are things that I would say that you could call an instant of time; or better, a now. As we live we seem to move through a succession of instants of time, nows, and the question is, what are they? There are where everything in the universe is at this moment, now. (Physicist Julian Barbour)
  • A couple of instants after the lightning, a deafening thunder roared above our heads.
Ready for the Test?
Here is a confirmatory test for this lesson.

This test can also be:
  • Edited (i.e., you can delete questions and play with the order of the questions).
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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? List of easily confused words