on reversed "substitute" (intransitive version)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Mon Mar 4 17:09:58 UTC 2013

This is merely a blend ("substitute for" + "replace with"), aided by the partial synonymity of "substitute" and "replace".

Gerald Cohen
Original message from Jonathan Lighter, Monday, March 04, 2013 6:33 AM

I couldn't help noticing and cringing when a twentysomething fitness guru
on CNN yesterday said the "you can substitute butter with olive oil" and
some other X with another Y.

Clearly =  "replace."

Another ex. of the same phrase from 2011:

"Substitute butter with olive oil: A study from the American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition shows that subjects limited lipid and insulin responses
when eating a meal high in mono-saturated fats (olive oil) instead of a
meal high in saturated fat (butter)."

The context suggests that the journalist should, by the standards of the
superannuated, know better.


On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 4:51 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrot=

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: on reversed "substitute" (intransitive version)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> On Aug 28, 2011, at 4:08 PM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> > Clear but not transparent? A distinction I cannot as yet fathom.
> > DanG
> >
> >
> ?
> I wasn't trying to distinguish "clear" and "transparent", but rather what
> was/would have been transparent (or clear) to me on hearing/reading it an=
> what must have clearly been intended by the speaker/writer, given the
> context.  What was not transparent to me is that "When you substitute him=
> could really mean "When you take him out and put in someone else" (as
> opposed to "When you put him in and take out someone else").  What is cle=
> is that that's what the writer/speaker intended to convey, given the
> overall context.
> This is a fact about the difference between the two dialects.  Before I
> became familiar with the British use of "knock up", if I had come across =
> female character in a movie or book saying to her male counterpart "Pleas=
> knock me up in the morning" it would not have been transparent to me that
> she meant 'please awaken me in the morning by knocking', yet clearly,
> that's what she would have meant (especially if she had uttered it with a
> British accent).  Or perhaps a more natural example:  the first time I ca=
> across someone saying something like "If she was wearing her seatbelt she
> may have survived the accident", I could only interpret it as suggesting
> that the speaker was agnostic as to the subject's survival; to express th=
> counterfactual, presupposing that she didn't survive, I would have expect=
> "=85she might have survived the accident".  But now I recognize that for =
> "new" dialect (don't know how new it actually is), "may" can be used to
> express this counterfactual !
>  or subjunctive meaning as well.
> Hope that's clearer and/or more transparent.
> LH
> >
> > On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 6:38 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Reminds me; the original from Cris Carter was actually "When you
> substitute him", not "if".  Same difference as they say (but I usually
> don't).  For me, these are not at all transparent; I only process them as
> "If/When you substitute him (for someone else)", not "If/When you
> substitute (someone else for) him", although clearly it's the latter that
> was intended.
> >>
> >> LH
> >>
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
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> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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