substitute for

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Dec 22 04:28:14 UTC 2013

I think changing "substitute" constructions been discussed on this list in the past. I personally have always had trouble with this verb--something that spilled over to Japanese when I studied it--I even read the sentence below and understood it. I had to use a dictionary to figure out the problem.

I suspect some of the problem comes from the benefactive "for" (and maybe transitive vs. intransitive, and passive vs. active).

Googling on "substituting for" gives "Nurse practitioners substituting for general practitioners" as the first non-dictionary hit. I think this has the same problem as "substituting refined carbohydrates for the higher-fiber, less-refined versions," but maybe the "for" is benefactive or there's a passive wreaking havoc.

A few hits down ( has a load of substitution uses (the ones not directly relevant show how confusing the whole thing is):
Basic Recipe Substitutions for Milk Allergy
-> (anti-conventional? It looks like the same as "refined carbohydrates") Substituting Milk and Dairy Ingredients
Basic Ingredient Substitutions for Food Allergies
-> (conventional) The following is a general guide to using ingredient substitutions for milk allergy
-> (conventional?) If you need additional assistance in finding product suggestions or where to find ingredients for substituting
-> (confusing because the noun "substitutes" looks like a verb) Substitutes for Dairy Ingredients
-> (conventional) Soy milk can easily be substituted for cow's milk
-> (conventional) It substitutes very well for low-fat or fat-free milk.

Then there's (‎):
-> (benefactive) If you have completed the online application and are interested in substituting for Katy ISD, please click

And this (
-> (anti-conventional) I am looking to substitute oil in home made salad dressings but still maintain the consistency.

With the last sentence, how else would you say it? "substitute something for oil"? The writer's version sounds fine to me, and once you allow that and add in benefactive "for," you wind up with the "carbohydrates" sentence below.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu!

On Dec 21, 2013, at 1:21 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> British nutrition researcher speaks:
> "Wholesale changes to diet are often not necessary, and just substituting
> refined carbohydrates for the higher-fiber, less-refined versions as well
> as aiming for increased fruit and vegetable intakes will take the average
> patient a long way toward achieving the fiber goals."
> Idiot.

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list