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    #1

    "replace" and "substitute"

    When using "replace" and "substitute", I am confused about who are in the positions and who are removed.

    1. I substitute A for B. It means A is in the position and B is removed, right?
    2. I replace A with B. It means B is in the position and A is removed, right?
    3. I replace A. It means A is removed but who is in the position is unknown, right?
    4. I substitute A. It means A is removed and I am in A's position now, right?
    5. I substitute for A. It means A is removed and I am in A's position now, right?

    Thank you

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2
    4 doesn't really work. The rest are right.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3
    I often find 'substitute' difficult, occasionally ambiguous.
    1. "She substituted soy milk for cow's milk."
    2. "She subtituted cow's milk with soy milk."
    The meaning is the same, (she used soy milk instead of cow's milk), but she substitutes a different kind of milk in 1 and 2!
    The applies to the OP's sentence 1. and 2, if in 2, 'replace' is substituted with 'substitute' - ie, 'substitute' is substituted for 'replace'.
    It's one of those words that can have inverse meanings depending on the rest of the phrase.

    See the 'Usage' paragraph here, which explains this a bit more.
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/de...ish/substitute
    Last edited by Raymott; 13-Mar-2014 at 09:48. Reason: Change I've to I

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee12071981 View Post
    3. I replace A. It means A is removed but who is in the position is unknown, right?
    "I" should be the one who takes the place of "A".

    Not a teacher.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5
    It could mean that it is the speaker who takes the place of A, but it does not necessarily do so. Context is important.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #6
    "I displace A".
    Does it necessarily mean the speaker takes the place of A?

  6. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8
    "3. I replace A. It means A is removed but who is in the position is unknown, right?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    "I" should be the one who takes the place of "A".
    "I replace the lightbulb." No, I don't twist my own head into the socket!

  8. poorboy_9's Avatar
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    #9
    Shouldn't it be "I've often found substitute difficult, occasionally ambiguous." ?

  9. 5jj's Avatar
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    #10
    It could be, but there is no reason why it should be.

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