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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    "Rather than" vs "Instead of"

    Hello guys,
    Currently, I'm trying to understand that rule.
    Today I found an interesting article:

    Rather than - shows preference. This expression is generally used in 'parallel' structures. e.g - with two nouns, adjectives, adverbs, infinitives or -ing forms.

    e.g

    1). We ought to invest in machinery rather than buildings.
    2). I prefer starting early rather than leaving things to the last minute.

    When the main clause has a to - infinitive, rather than is usually followed by an infinitive without to or -ing form.

    e.g - I decided to write rather than phone/phoning.

    Instead of - suggests that one person, thing or action replaces another. Instead is not used alone as a preposition; we use the two words instead of.
    Instead of is not usually followed by an infinitive.

    e.g

    1). I'll have tea instead of coffee, please.
    2). I stayed in bed all day instead of going to work.
    3). Amit was invited to the reception, but he was ill, so Akash went instead of him.

    Note - Instead (without of) is an adverb. It begins or ends a clause usually.

    e.g - She didn't go to Greece after all. Instead , she went to America.


    NOTE :
    Usage --- instead of + noun phrase. Instead of is only a preposition and can introduce only a phrase i.e no verb
    Usage --- rather than + verb (or) rather than + noun. Further rather than can act as a preposition and can introduce a prepositional phrase or can act as a conjunction and introduce a clause
    GMAT Grammar: Rather than vs Instead of

    Unfortunately, I can't see a real difference here:
    2). I prefer starting early rather than leaving things to the last minute.
    2). I stayed in bed all day instead of going to work.
    (Does the second sentence need the "instead of" because it's past?)

    To me all these examples are the same; better said: I don't see a real reason why to use "rather than" or "instead of".

    How about these sentences:
    Instead of waiting for some nice weather, you should quickly run to the mall until it's too late.
    I would prefer less money rather than more work.
    Today I'll drive my dad's car instead of my car.
    You can learn more rather than playing all the time.


    Cheers!

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    #2

    Re: "Rather than" vs "Instead of"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello guys,
    Currently, I'm trying to understand that rule.
    Today I found an interesting article:

    GMAT Grammar: Rather than vs Instead of

    Unfortunately, I can't see a real difference here:
    2). I prefer starting early rather than leaving things to the last minute.
    2). I stayed in bed all day instead of going to work.
    (Does the second sentence need the "instead of" because it's past?)

    To me all these examples are the same; better said: I don't see a real reason why to use "rather than" or "instead of".

    How about these sentences:
    Instead of waiting for some nice weather, you should quickly run to the mall until it's too late.
    I would prefer less money rather than more work.
    Today I'll drive my dad's car instead of my car.
    You can learn more rather than playing all the time.


    Cheers!
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good morning, Nightmare.

    (1) As I type this, no one else has yet answered. So may I start?

    (2) This "rather than" matter is confusing to ordinary native speakers like me, too.

    (3) If you get a chance, google the article on "rather than" in THE AMERICAN HERITAGE BOOK OF ENGLISH USAGE.

    (a) The article is short.

    (b) The article does a pretty good job of explaining this term.

    (4) But the best thing is what it says in the last paragraph:

    Just as you said, there is often little difference between "rather than" and "instead of."

    So the article suggests that a person just use "instead of" + gerund whenever it is possible. Then one does not have to worry about trying to "balance" both sides of "rather than."

    Have a nice day!

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "Rather than" vs "Instead of"

    The key to the GMAT article is the clause '...one person, thing or action replaces another...'; it stands for the other thing. There is a quite archaic word, related - probably (I don't have time right now to look it up) - to 'stand': 'stead' ( some times used now in the phrase 'in its stead' [=instead of it], and visible in composite words like 'homestead' and 'steadfast').

    But as TheParser said, its sometimes hard - if not impossible - to distinguish between the two. In some case it's clear:

    I like ice-cream rather than custard.
    But
    Waiter, I'd like the cheese-cake, but with ice-cream instead of cream - this implies that the menu says 'cheesecake with cream'.

    But often it's not so easy.

    b

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