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Comment: Instead of means in place of. Instead of comes from in its stead, where stead is an archaic word meaning place. In an English sentence, instead of can imply equivalence between the two objects if one is not available, but it often implies that there is something better about the item that is suggested as a replacement. In Chinese, the pattern becomes, Do this, not that. This is better than that. The suggestion may be softened with 吧 ba or with a negative question: Why not...? 为什么不。。。? Note: Instead, without the of, is an adverb that means about the same thing. I think I will go for a walk instead. There is no phrase following instead, the alternative behavior is not stated in the sentence, although it may be in another sentence. Don't go shopping. Stay home with me instead. 反而 fan3'er2 may mean instead or on the contrary and can be used as a conjunction or adverb to convey the meaning of instead of. Rather than - 与其 yu3qi2 can also be used to express the same meaning in some sentences, especially in the construction rather than ... it would be better to ... 与其 yu3qi2 ... 不如 bu4ru2 ...

In England and Japan, they drive on the left side of the road instead of on the right. 

在 英 国 和 日 本 是 左 行 ,而 不 是 右 行 。

Zai4 Ying1guo2 he2 Ri4ben3 shi4 zuo3xing2, er2 bu2shi4 you4xing2.

Cao LihongZheng LeiZhou HuiRen ShuangGu Zheng

on the contrary 

反 而


Zhang MengJessie WangLiu MingkeChu LinZheng LeiFeng Xi

I use e-mail instead of airmail now. 

现 在 我 用 电 子 邮 件 代 替 航 空 信 。

Xian4zai4 wo3 yong4 dian4zi3 you2jian4 dai4ti4 hang2kong1xin4.

Liu JinzheZhang MengZhang XiaoweiZhang LiZhao HeZheng Lei

Use plastic instead of metal for the brace. It will be lighter and more flexible.  (The Chinese becomes "Use plastic circle not metal - where circle means a brace to confine or surround.)

用 塑 料 圈 , 别 用 金 属 的 。 塑 料 更 轻 也 更 有 弹 性 。

Yong4 su4liao4 quan1, bie2 yong4 jin1shu3 de. Su4liao4 geng4 qing1 ye3 geng4 you3tan1xing4.

That's foolish, why not come with me instead of taking a taxi? 

太 笨 了 ! 为 什 么 不 跟 我 走 而 去 坐 出 租 车 。

Tai4 ben4 le! Wei4shen2me bu4 gen1 wo3 zou3 er2 qu4 zuo4 chu1zu1che1.

Liu Yu RongZhao JianWang ChengLi ChunjiangLi XinzhouNa ZitaoZhang Zhida
Instead of · 1

Yang Ming came to work instead of Du Feng, because he wanted to. 

杨 明 代 替 杜 峰 来 这 里 工 作 因 为 他 想 要 来 。

Yang2 Ming2 dai4ti4 Du4 Feng1 lai2 zhe4 li3 gong1zuo4 yin1wei2 ta1 xiang3yao4 lai2.

Du FengJin YanRuan YilangZheng Jie
AllenKaren Lee

I'm going to take chemistry instead of physics.  (zhun3bei4 means to intend in this sentence)

我 准 备 选 化 学 , 不 选 物 理 了 。

Wo3 zhun3bei4 xuan3 hua4xue2, bu4 xuan3 wu4li3 le.

I planted peas instead of corn. Peas are easier to grow.  (Instead means "in place of" and is not used in Chinese. The Chinese becomes: I planted peas, not corn. - followed by the comparison.)

我 种 了 豌 豆 , 没 种 玉 米 。 豌 豆 更 容 易 种 些 。

Wo3 zhong4 le wan1dou4, mei2 zhong4 yu4mi3. Wan1dou4 geng1 rong2yi4 zhong4 xie1.

John went to the dance instead of studying. Boy, will he be sorry! 

约 翰 没 有 学 习 , 反 而 去 跳 舞 了 。 他 会 后 悔 的 !

Yue1han4 mei2 you3 xue2xi2, fan3'er2 qu4 tiao4wu3 le. Ta1 hui4 hou4hui3 de.

Let's go get dumplings instead of Sichuan. 

吃 饺 子 吧 , 别 吃 川 菜 了 。

Chi1 jiao3zi ba, bie2 chi1 Chuan1cai4 le.

Instead of · 2

Why not have water instead of juice? It's less expensive and less fattening.  (In the Chinese, "instead" is not usual. Instead (couldn't help it) the first part becomes "why not drink water?" followed by the comparison with juice. Notice the use of 呢 to make a polite suggestion.)

为 什 么 不 喝 水 呢 ? 水 比 果 汁 更 便 宜 , 而 且 不 会 长 胖 。

Wei4shen2me bu4 he1 shui3 ne? Shui3 bi3 guo3zhi1 geng4 pian2yi, er2qie3 bu2 hui4 zhang3 pang4.

Last Update: July 2012
©  Marilyn Shea 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012