How to correctly use “Instead Of”

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Have you ever wanted to learn the correct use of “Instead of“? Do you want to improve your vocabulary by using this prepositional phrase? Then this post will answer all your questions! 

To start we must understand that, “instead of” is a common expression used by intermediate English level speakers, and its grammatical structure is that of a prepositional phrase. 

We can also use the word “instead” alone. For more details on that matter, the following post will answer your questions.

Definition of “instead of”

As we mentioned “instead of” is a phrase that is composed of two words, that when used together become a preposition that indicates that a person or object is being replaced by something else.

Another meaning that “instead of” has is rather than, in place of, and it always presents choices. 

How can you use “instead of” in a sentence?

Most of the time, this preposition goes after the noun and before another noun, a verb in gerund, a pronoun, or even a noun phrase, but it never precedes a verb in the infinitive, because they are not compatible. 

Let’s look at some examples:

  • I will buy a phone instead of a pc (noun)
  • I go to your home instead of going party (gerund)
  • You should eat balanced instead of too many candies and desserts (noun phrase)

The good thing about this prepositional phrase is that we can use it without focusing on the verbal time of the sentence. We can use it in the simple past, simple present, present perfect, future, etc.

What is not allowed is the following rule:

I drink coffee instead of drink tea. X

If you use the verb in infinitive after “instead of” you would be making a grave mistake. 

  • There’s also the possibility that you can use it instead, but its uses are very diverse. 

“Instead” can sometimes have the same function of  “instead of” due to its adverb form, but it is located differently. 

You can use it at the end of the sentence, the beginning, and even the center, what matters is the context that is being applied. 

We will show some examples so you can understand “instead” better: 

  • Instead of doing exercises, you are sleeping (beginning)
  • At first, I thought about ordering water, but in the, end I ordered beer instead (ending) 
  • She said she wanted to get married instead of trying to remain single (in the middle) 

Another difference that this preposition has is that it can be connected seamlessly with the gerund.  

Here you have an example of how the gerund connects directly with instead of:

He is in a relationship instead of remaining single. (remaining is the gerund).

These are some similar expressions of “instead of”

“Instead” is not the only synonym of “instead of”. Other words carry out the same function or that communicate the same function in a sentence. It is important that you know them to expand your vocabulary. 

This is the list:

In place of

Rather than

In lieu of

As an adverb “instead” can some synonyms like: 

Alternatively to


In preference to 

In contrast with

Among others. 

Why do we consider “instead of” important?

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Not only is it instead of a useful proposition, but other words transmit the same concept and can even be used as substitutes. You need to learn them to improve your skills.

If you have any doubts or wish to receive more information about prepositional phrases, we invite you to leave a comment on this box below, or better yet, you can communicate directly with us and we will guide you in anything you need, be it grammar, vocabulary, etc. 

Today we studied “instead of“, you can find even more information on our webpage. And remember there is always something to learn, and the most important thing is that you balance your time and your learning. Good luck! 

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