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7 replies

Bittermints · 24/12/2018 10:35

While putting off making a start on my cooking, are there any other pedants around to discuss this pressing issue? Xmas Grin

So many reports of problems with online food shops at the moment are including 'substitute' but I'm not always sure what the writer means.


I look at a soup recipe. It specifies leeks. I use onions instead. So:

I substituted onions for leeks.
I substituted leeks with onions.

The latter is gaining ground as an acceptable usage, on the model of 'replaced leeks with onions' (which I would prefer, as I think it's clearer). The OED includes an example and that's good enough for me.

But what I often see on supermarket threads is something like this:

They have subbed the shortbread fingers for shortbread assortment. That's OK as long it's still all butter.

I think it's the 'the' in that sentence that leaves me wondering what was the original order and what's the replacement. Without the 'the' I'd be confident that assortment was the original and fingers were the replacement. With it, though, it sounds more as if the substitution was the other way round.

I wonder if this is because substitute is a word that many people didn't use routinely in this way before online supermarket shopping?

OP posts:
concretesieve · 24/12/2018 17:29

Bittermints Yes!!! I'd come here to rant about just this Grin You're spot on and absolutely NBU! People are definitely 'for' when they mean 'with' or 'by'. I was ranting to DP about it just yesterday.

concretesieve · 24/12/2018 17:34

Definitely USING Blush Serves me right Xmas Blush Merry Christmas - and I genuinely hope everyone has what they need for tomorrow.

Bittermints · 24/12/2018 18:34

@concretesieve, glad I'm not alone! And yes, I hope everybody's got everything one way or another now.

OP posts:
HollowTalk · 24/12/2018 18:49

But 'for' is right! And 'the' is right, too!

HollowTalk · 24/12/2018 18:55

Sorry, having to scroll up and down to see what examples you gave.

I substituted onions for leeks. (This is right - you used onions instead of the leeks in the recipe)
I substituted leeks with onions. (This doesn't make sense at all. You'd have to say "I used leeks instead of onions.")

They have subbed the shortbread fingers for shortbread assortment. That's OK as long it's still all butter. (I think it's pretty clear that they used shortbread fingers instead of the assortment.)

BitOfFun · 24/12/2018 18:55

I think that the 'the' makes it clear, actually, as I read it as 'the shortbread fingers (I had ordered)'.

BitOfFun · 24/12/2018 18:58

Hollowtalk- isn't it funny how we both feel so certain of the shortbread meaning, yet came to opposite conclusions?Grin

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