to replace versus to substitute

English translation: See explanation

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:to replace versus to substitute
Selected answer:See explanation
Entered by: Anton Baer

22:48 Jan 28, 2009
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
Social Sciences - Social Science, Sociology, Ethics, etc.
English term or phrase: to replace versus to substitute
I'm editing a Spanish native speaker, who has written a book in English. I'm embarrassed but in a comment, I can't seem to explain why her wording is wrong in this sentence:

Barbasco first became a plant of interest in the late 1940s when it substituted another, dioscorea or cabeza de negro, ...

I know it should be "when it replaced another" but why? TIA!
Patricia Rosas
United States
Local time: 19:58
See explanation
Explanation:
It depends. Does barbasco "substitute for" dioscorea in a process of some kind? "To substitute for" means the replacement is temporary. To replace is permanent. "If you don't have cinnamon, use nutmeg." That's a substitute. If you think the recipe turns out better with nutmeg, replace the cinnamon with nutmeg. Let the nutmeg take cinnamon's place, take over its role -- and not merely "substitute for", stand in for it until the cinnamon is back from holiday.
So much depends on what follows your ellipsis.
Selected response from:

Anton Baer
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:58
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +8See explanation
Anton Baer
5not necessarily incorrect.
Gary D
4replace because there can be no substitute in this case
B D Finch
3displaced
Suzan Hamer


Discussion entries: 9





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
See explanation


Explanation:
It depends. Does barbasco "substitute for" dioscorea in a process of some kind? "To substitute for" means the replacement is temporary. To replace is permanent. "If you don't have cinnamon, use nutmeg." That's a substitute. If you think the recipe turns out better with nutmeg, replace the cinnamon with nutmeg. Let the nutmeg take cinnamon's place, take over its role -- and not merely "substitute for", stand in for it until the cinnamon is back from holiday.
So much depends on what follows your ellipsis.

Anton Baer
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:58
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 7
Grading comment
Selected automatically based on peer agreement.
Notes to answerer
Asker: For the record, the replacement was permanent...


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mikhail Kropotov: Yes, 'substitute for' is only temprorary
2 mins

agree  Tina Vonhof
36 mins

agree  Mark Nathan: yes, your author's wording could work if she means it became a temporary replacement (and insert "for" after "substituted"). Although I agree that "replaced" sounds better.
52 mins

agree  kmtext
10 hrs

agree  cmwilliams (X): yes, it would have to be 'when it was substituted for'.. but I think it sound more natural to say 'when it was replaced by'...
10 hrs

agree  Vicky Nash
22 hrs

agree  Pham Huu Phuoc
3 days 5 hrs

agree  Phong Le
3 days 12 hrs
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
not necessarily incorrect.


Explanation:
"Barbasco first became a plant of interest in the late 1940s when it substituted another dioscorea, cabeza de negro, as the ideal raw material for obtaining desired chemical compounds."
This means that Barbasco was substituted for Dioscorea when Dioscorea may not have been available or it was overpriced. Not necessarily that it was as good as the one it substituted and there was also a chance the original product may be used again in the future or that the substitution was a correct one to do and may in fact be an illegal act. (A good example of this is the Chinese milk scandal where one product was substituted for another but not a replacement of the original product)

So this is where it is said to be substituted for another, and with the next you provided it looks like it may have been this, as there appears to be a senate hearing about this substitution, therefore it (the substitution) may have had serious side effects, just like the Chinese scandal.

It is a replacement product, if it is within the parameters of the law and it is approved to be a replacement product.

In the text you provided, the correct term is "substitute" and not "replacement or when it replaced another"


Gary D
Local time: 12:58
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
displaced


Explanation:
"Barbasco first became a plant of interest in the late 1940s when it displaced another dioscorea, cabeza de negro, as the ideal raw material for obtaining desired chemical compounds."

Displace: to shift from its place, oust, take the place of, put something else in the place of.

Not saying there's anything wrong with replaced, but perhaps this works as well?

Suzan Hamer
Netherlands
Local time: 04:58
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
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19 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
replace because there can be no substitute in this case


Explanation:
"Barbasco first became a plant of interest in the late 1940s when it substituted another dioscorea, cabeza de negro, as the ideal raw material for obtaining desired chemical compounds."

There can only be one ideal raw material; therefore this was a replacement, not a substitution.

B D Finch
France
Local time: 04:58
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
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