The article examines the use of examples in Swahili grammars from the German colonial period. Constructions with numerals are the focus of attention. Systematically, numerals are an open class of words and enable manifold uses in examples. In the first part, the grammatical potential of numerals will be discussed in general, followed by a discussion of their grammaticographical explanation. In this context, linguistics in the colonial period are of particular interest. In the second part, we present the results of an empirical analysis of five colonial Swahili grammars, showing that colonial certainties are a constitutive feature also of linguistics at the time.