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  1. #1
    MichaelSoubry Guest

    Default Usage of "substitute for ....."

    I was brought up to believe that the statement: "We want to substitute three apples for five pears." meant that originally there were (or were intended to be) five pears, but (for some reason) there now would be (or needed to be) three apples instead.

    I have suddenly (within the last three years) found myself in the minority of my peers, the majority understanding the above statement to mean there will in future be five pears instead of, or in place of, three apples.

    Can I be advised authoritatively, please, to settle the difference of opinion.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    Aah. Semantics. Marylin has it.

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    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    In regards to A substitute apples for pears I understand it the other way round. The substitution is brought FOR pears by replacing them with apples...what you had before was apples then.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 13-Feb-2005 at 04:46. Reason: replaced Cas' nonsense with Marylin's sense. Thanks, Marylin

  4. #4
    MichaelSoubry Guest

    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by Marylin
    In regards to A substitute apples for pears I understand it the other way round. The substitution is brought FOR pears by replacing them with apples...what you had before was apples then.
    Marylin, Thanks for your reply, but not quite clear. Your first statement seems to agree with my interpretation, replacing pears with apples, i.e. finishing up with apples in the future, not pears. Your finishing words, "what you had before was apples" imply the opposite.

    Please clarify.

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    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSoubry
    Marylin, Thanks for your reply, but not quite clear. Your first statement seems to agree with my interpretation, replacing pears with apples, i.e. finishing up with apples in the future, not pears. Your finishing words, "what you had before was apples" imply the opposite.

    Please clarify.
    I still do agree with you 100%.
    My response was for Casiopea. Cassy posted up a message that she later deleted. Sorry for the confusion.
    As I said before, when you substitute apples for pears, you had pears before and you bring in the apples which are the substitution FOR pears.

    Again, the confusion you expressed before is about this equasion:

    to substitute something for something=
    that something is the replacement for the other thing.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSoubry
    I was brought up to believe that the statement: "We want to substitute three apples for five pears." meant that originally there were (or were intended to be) five pears, but (for some reason) there now would be (or needed to be) three apples instead.

    I have suddenly (within the last three years) found myself in the minority of my peers, the majority understanding the above statement to mean there will in future be five pears instead of, or in place of, three apples.

    Can I be advised authoritatively, please, to settle the difference of opinion.
    Sorry. My intention was to avoid confusion, not to create it.

    Your reading
    substitute apples for pears
    => "substitute" means, apples act in place of pears (I want apples)

    Your friends' reading
    substitute apples for pears
    => "substitute" means, switch apples for pears (I want pears)

    Marylin and I agree with your reading, but that's not to say your friends' reading is unacceptable. Your friends' reading has a name. It's called semantic analogy, and it's an example of how words change in meaning over time. Given the different readings above, it appears that "substitute" is in the process of change. Speakers are adding new meaning to it.

    EX: Can I substitute (i.e., switch) fries for a salad? (I want a salad)

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    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by Marylin
    Cassy posted up a message that she later deleted.
    So sorry, Marylin. My intention was to avoid confusion, not to create it. Thanks for the save.

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    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    So sorry, Marylin. My intention was to avoid confusion, not to create it. Thanks for the save.
    No problem. Your explanation is right on the money. Thanks.
    Last edited by Marylin; 14-Feb-2005 at 18:32.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Usage of "substitute for ....."

    .... I agree with your reading, but that's not to say your friends' reading is unacceptable. Your friends' reading has a name. It's called semantic analogy, and it's an example of how words change in meaning over time.

    Two questions for you, Casiopea.

    Are you saying that it could be interpreted diffrently then? In other words you would consider it acceptable? As far as I know you started with pears and you want to have them replaced with apples ( switched or whatever you call it). I personally wouldn't understand it any other way.

    OK. everything aside, who are you calling my friend???? Mr. Soubry? I don't know him any more than you do. Now, you got me confused.
    Last edited by Marylin; 15-Feb-2005 at 00:18.

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