Instead means “as an alternative”.

“Instead” can be used as an adverb:

  • He didn’t buy a cake. Instead, he bought some cookies.
  • She didn’t go to Greece. Instead, she went to Italy.
  • Don’t marry John. Marry me instead.

“Instead of” is a preposition. It is followed by a noun or noun phrase:

  • May I have a hardback book, instead of a paperback one?
  • I would like to buy a car instead of a truck.
  • I spent the whole day in bed instead of going to work.


  • “Instead” as an adverb
    • I don’t want cookies. Instead, I’ll have a piece of cake.
    • Cake is the desired choice.  “Instead” (adverb) is associated with the positive option.
  • “Instead of” as a preposition
    • I’ll have a piece of cake instead of cookies, please. 
  • Cookies are not wanted. “Instead of” (preposition) is associated with the negative option.

Test your understanding here.

Write your own sentence using “instead” or “instead of” and send it in reply below.

Published by myunlimitedenglish

I understand that language acquisition is a process. Once a person has learned the first few words of the language, they are on their way! Whether the next step is talking about ordering food in a restaurant or launching a rocket into space, I am available to help with the English. My passion in my teaching is to applaud the acquired language, to build further understanding and to practice next steps. I look forward to helping you in your next steps.

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