338 - 代わりに (in place of)

Today's grammar point is quite useful:

JLPT N3: 代わりに(かわりに)

We use 代わりに to say "instead of" or "in place of" in sentences.

In other words, we use it to portray that one thing or action is being substituted for another.

Like this:

大学に進学する代わりに、就職して家計を助けたい。
だいがく に しんがく する かわりに、 しゅうしょく して かけい を たすけたい。
Instead of continuing onto college, I want to get a job and help support my family.
Literally: "university + に + entering a higher-level school (esp. university) + do + in place of, + finding employment + do (and) + family finances + を + want to help."

In English, we can say either of these.

A instead of B.
Instead of A, B.

But in Japanese, we say:

A 代わりに, B.

A will usually be one of the following:

- A person.
- A habitual action or routine activity.

When A is a person, a closer English translation is something like "in place of." You can use it when you've done something on someone's behalf:

アルバイトで忙しい兄の代わりに、わたしが銀行に行ってあげた。
アルバイト で いそがしい あに の かわりに、 わたし が ぎんこう に いって あげた。
Since my (older) brother was busy with work, I went to the bank for him.
Literally: "job + で + busy + older brother + の + in place of, + I + が + bank + に + go (and) + gave."

I think it goes without saying, but the final clause (=B) will be something different from the first half of the sentence (=A).


Note that a verb in dictionary form or a noun with の will come directly before 代わりに:

Vる代わりに
Nの 代わりに

Always, always, always.

OK. Let's get right to the examples...


最近は紙の本の代わりに、電子書籍を買うようになりました。なかなか便利です。
さいきん は かみ の ほん の かわりに、 でんししょせき を かう ように なりました。 なかなか べんり です。
Recently I have been buying digital books instead of paper books. It's rather convenient.
Literally: "recently + は + paper + の + book + の + in place of, + digital publications + を + buy + ように + became. + quite + convenient + です."
Note: This ように is difficult to translate, but it is often used when expressing gradual changes. We will eventually see it in a JLPT N4 lesson.


遅刻しそうだったので歩いて行く代わりに、自転車で行くことにした。
ちこく しそう だった ので あるいて いく かわりに、 じてんしゃ で いく こと に した。
It looked like I was going to be late, so instead of walking, I rode my bike.
Literally: "late (arriving) + looked like would do + was + ので + walk (and) + go + in place of, + bicycle + で + go + thing + に + did."


家でゆっくりする代わりに、今日は友人たちとゴルフをした。
いえ で ゆっくり する かわりに、 きょう は ゆうじんたち と ゴルフ を した。
Instead of relaxing at home, today I went golfing with my friends.
Literally: "house + で + slowly / restful + do + in place of, + today + は + close friends + と + golf + を + did."


Once you have learned how to make simple sentences in Japanese, this is one of the easiest complex sentence formations. You don't have to worry about crazy conjugations and all that nightmarish stuff. Just Vる or Nの with 代わりに, then whatever you did in the regular action/person's place.

In other words, try to use this grammar when practicing Japanese! It is one JLPT grammar point that I use quite frequently.




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