substitute for

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Tolian, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. Tolian New Member

    "If the opportunity cost of Coke increases, some people will substitute Pepsi for Coke".

    The phrase is taken from the book on economics.

    The question is: in this situation, will the people buy Coke instead of Pepsi, or Pepsi instead of Coke?

    What is the underlying rule to understand semantics in the sentenses with the use of "substitute something for something"?
  2. Conchita57

    Conchita57 Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Spanish - Spain/French - Switzerland
    They will substitute Pepsi for Coke = they will buy Pepsi instead of Coke.

    Another way of saying it is:

    They will substitute Coke by/with Pepsi.

  3. Since she was on a low-fat diet she substituted yoghurt for cream.

    The recipe stated that brandy should be used. Since she had none she substituted it for sherry.

    I can't explain a "rule" very well. It means that you exchange something for something else.

    I hope the above examples will help.

  4. Tolian New Member

    Thank you very much. I've thought I was going crazy while reading "Economics" by Michael Parkin, Melanie Powell, Kent Matthew. The grammatical mistakes are everywhere which lead to wrong logical conclusions. I think I am better to e-mail to the publisher to complain about it.
  5. Macunaíma

    Macunaíma Senior Member

    Um ninho de mafagalfinhos
    português, Brasil
    Or else: they will replace coke with pepsi.

    Unlike in my native language (and guess yours too), the thing to be replaced comes second with the verb to substitute. That one is very tricky for me too.

    Brazil is doing great in its effort to substitute ethanol for petrol (petrol is being replaced by ethanol).

    Prof. Hughes will be substituting for Prof. Matthews this week. (will be taking Prof. Matthews' place)

    Nevertheless, when it comes to using it, I get all muddled up...

  6. Ecossaise Senior Member


    There is nothing wrong with the phrase "some people will substitute Pepsi for Coke". Semantically it means that instead of one thing, another is used/bought/whatever. Part of the problem of reading specialized texts is that the language used is so specialized in itself. Economics is notably complex.

    If you have a problem with the writing, you might be better to contact the author.
  7. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    La Reine Victoria,

    Is this BE syntax: The recipe stated that brandy should be used. Since she had none she substituted it for sherry.

    To me, your sentence means that she substituted brandy for sherry, but since brandy was called for in the recipe, I'm confused. Would your majesty deign to explain?
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    My head hurts.
    That is clear to me; Conchita57 and Macunaíma have explained it as I understand it.
    That example is consistent with everything said so far.
    That is not consistent. I would say:
    Since she had none she substituted sherry for it.
    Well, to be honest I wouldn't say that at all, I would say:
    Since she had none she used sherry instead,
    ... but for the purposes of this post I wrote the first version :)

    Putting my neck on the block, I think perhaps LRV got a couple of words the wrong way round.

    Substitute X for Y - means X replaces Y.

    Using by or with along with substitute always causes me confusion, so I don't use either myself.

    Substitute X by Y - means Y replaces X.
    Substitute X with Y - means Y replaces X.

    The clue lies in the preposition, not the verb, which seems to be able to work either way round.
  9. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Am I missing something? What is "the opportunity cost of Coke"?
  10. Ecossaise Senior Member

    Ah well, economic jargon again: the opportunity cost of a decision is based on what must be given up (the next best alternative) as a result of the decision. Any decision that involves a choice between two or more options has an opportunity cost.
  11. Hi Joelline,

    Sorry if I have caused confusion. I was nipping at the cooking sherry at the time. :D

    Thank you for your explanation, Panj. :)

    I never use "substitute for" - I would say "She used sherry instead."

  12. longxianchen Senior Member

    Good answer. It has confused for a long time
  13. Edinburgher Senior Member

    German/English bilingual
    It is also possible (and perhaps preferable) to omit the prepositional phrase.
    Instead of saying "You can substitute sherry for brandy.",
    it is clearer if you say "If you don't have brandy, you can substitute sherry."

    People occasionally get the "for" version wrong. I was just looking at a recipe at Slow-cooked Ox Cheeks in Wine Recipe - Great British Chefs, and it says:
    I know ox cheek isn't the easiest ingredient to get hold of, but it is worth trying, if you can. If not, feel free to substitute the meat for shin of beef or venison stewing steak.
    This is incorrect. It is clear that they mean you can substitute shin of beef or venison stewing steak for ox cheek.
  14. kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    Yes, "with" is the correct word in that word order.

    feel free to substitute the meat for with shin of beef or venison stewing steak

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