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July 09, 2009, 06:54
Today's paper had a usage that seems very foreign to me, and seems wrong. Is it an acceptable usage? Is it familiar to you? In the phase "substituting it with", the with sounds out of place. It would be grammatically proper (but would reverse the meaning) to change it to "substituting it for". I would have written "replacing it with" or "substituting for it".

Thoughts and comments?
July 09, 2009, 08:17
I have never heard of any grammatical stricture against the use of "substituting with" and the phrase seems perfectly OK to me. However, when I Googled "substituting with" I only got around 30K Ghits, but got about 655K when I searched for "substituting for". The latter use seems the more common, therefore.

Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
July 09, 2009, 09:00
Richard English
I would always use "replace with" or "substitute for".

Richard English
July 09, 2009, 17:45
<Asa Lovejoy>
I would have used "replacing it with."
July 09, 2009, 18:08
What's wrong with simply "substittuing"?
July 09, 2009, 20:46
"Substituting it with" sounds okay to me.
July 09, 2009, 22:01
I'm with Proof -- "substituting a new equity..."
July 10, 2009, 00:59
Richard English
I'm with Proof -- "substituting a new equity..."

Substituting a new equity for what? To be grammatically accurate I would suggest the phrase should read, "...substituting new equity for the crushing burden of debt..."

Of course, the meaning can be inferred from the entire paragraph but that doesn't mean that the paragraph is grammatically accurate - and it is certainly not very stylish.

Richard English
July 10, 2009, 11:59
Substituting a new equity for what?

The move reduced X, substituting Y instead.
Sounds pretty clear to me that Y has been substituted for X.
July 10, 2009, 12:27
"With" and "for" are probably both grammatical, but, to me at least, "for" seems less awkward, which means it's probably just a matter of what one is used to hearing.

July 10, 2009, 12:43
I agree the original phrasing sounded a little clunky but I wouldn't read "substituting with" as having the same meaning as "substituting for".

In the recipe you can substitute margarine for butter.

That means, to me, that the recipe calls for butter but you can use margarine.

In the recipe you can substitute margarine with butter.

That means, again to me, that it calls for margarine but you can use butter.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
July 12, 2009, 19:11
You are completely right, Bob. I hadn't thought of it that way. I take back my response above.
July 20, 2009, 10:30
Saw this example today:

U.S. troops have grown very adept at passing out stuff to children -- chocolate, soccer balls, school supplies -- over the last several wars. None of that says a single thing about the importance or the prospects for any military endeavor. To believe otherwise is to substitute reasoning for emotion, which is deeply irresponsible in matters of life and death.

July 20, 2009, 12:17
U.S. troops have grown very adept at passing out stuff to children

If they do it when they come home, they'll get arrested.
July 21, 2009, 00:24
Richard English
One of my earliest memories was of US arrmed forces personel handing out such unheard of luxuries as chewing gum to we children. I can even remember the name of the two who were billeted with us: Wally and Boobly, they were called, although I have no idea how they spelled their names.

I've no idea what happened to them after the war, but my 65-year-old memories of them are still clear.

Richard English