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Rather than vs Instead of

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Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 19 Aug 2009, 21:59
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Hi Folks,
Recently I encountered a problem with using between Rather than vs instead of(problem from OG and I hit snag in one of the MGMAT test). So can anyone explain the difference in usage between -
Instead of
Rather than

What I am looking is kinda more subtle difference, when you can use instead of and when you can use rather than.

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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2009, 00:44
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IMO in GMAT rather than is normally preferred. However there should be another reason in the answer choices to solve the problem. In other words the difference between rather than and instead of is not the main issue in the problem and you should be able to find other errors in the answer choices that make you pick the correct answer.

Regarding the difference between both idioms this is what I have in my notes.

Rather than can be follow by clauses whereas instead of should be only follow by nouns. According to this rule you could say

I live [in the mountains] rather than [in the city] correct
I live [in the mountains] instead of [in the city] Incorrect in the city is not a noun but rather a prepositional phrase


I think this is how GMAT treats the differences between these idioms. Other authorities say that you can use instead of with clauses. Perhaps an expert can bring some light on this issue

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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2009, 03:38
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Rather than shows a judgment. One choice is preferred over the other. It is better somehow.
Instead of merely expresses a replacement of one thing for another.

Example:
I would rather have ice cream than apple pie because I like ice cream better.
But if there weren't very much ice cream left, and I wanted to save some for tomorrow, I might have apple pie instead of ice cream tonight.
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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2009, 04:13
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IN GMAT RATHER THAN USED BETWEEN TWO VERBS(ACTIONS, PHRASES), INSTEAD OF USED BETWEEN TWO NOUNS. THIS IS WHAT IN GMAT I HAVE SEEN SO FAR. THE NORMAL ENGLISH USUAGE IS DIFFERENT. BUT NO DEFINITE HARD RULE, PLEASE POST THE SENTENCE , IT WOULD BE HELPFUL.

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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2009, 14:30
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In commercial garment construction, one advantage of serging over single-needle sewing is that the seam allowance is overcast as the seam is sewn instead of a separate process requiring deeper seam allowances.

A. instead of
B. rather than in
C. in contrast with
D. as opposed to
E. as against being done in

[Reveal] Spoiler: Answer
B. rather than in

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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2012, 10:36
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Rather than - shows preference. This expression is generally used in 'parallel' structures. e.g - with two nouns, adjectives, adverbs, infinitives or -ing forms.

e.g

1). We ought to invest in shares rather than Gold.
2). I prefer starting early rather than leaving things to the last minute.

When the main clause has a to - infinitive, rather than is usually followed by an infinitive without to or -ing form.

e.g - They have elected to write rather than phone/phoning.

Instead of - suggests that one person, thing or action replaces another. Instead is not used alone as a preposition; we use the two words instead of.
Instead of is not usually followed by an infinitive.

e.g

1). I'll have tea instead of coffee, please.
2). I stayed in bed all day instead of going to work.
3). Amit was invited to the reception, but he was ill, so Akash went instead of him.

Note - Instead (without of) is an adverb. It begins or ends a clause usually.

e.g - She didn't go to Greece after all. Instead , she went to America.


NOTE :
Usage --- instead of + noun phrase. Instead of is only a preposition and can introduce only a phrase i.e no verb
Usage --- rather than + verb (or) rather than + noun. Further rather than can act as a preposition and can introduce a prepositional phrase or can act as a conjunction and introduce a clause .....

P.S. I took idea from another forum post
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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2012, 12:30
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robertrdzak wrote:
In commercial garment construction, one advantage of serging over single-needle sewing is that the seam allowance is overcast as the seam is sewn instead of a separate process requiring deeper seam allowances.

A. instead of
B. rather than in
C. in contrast with
D. as opposed to
E. as against being done in

[Reveal] Spoiler: Answer
B. rather than in


Another reason why correct GMAT answers use "rather than" over "instead of" is the ability to use a preposition after "than" where you can't add a preposition after "of". You see in the example above you need that preposition "in" before "a separate process..." to maintain parallelism and proper meaning - "as the seam is sewn....in a separate process". Answer choice B correctly uses that construction.

The issue above along with the meaning points cited earlier explain why the GMAT has a strong, strong preference towards "rather than" on SC.

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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2014, 12:04
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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2015, 13:05
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jul 2016, 00:41
The first "IN" in this sentence is placed too far away, at the very beginning of the sentence. To maintain parallelism we have to use a answer choice with "in".

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Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jul 2017, 12:44
I have a question, rather than + V. The verb here can be used in different tense from the V in the main clause?
Rather than ACCEPT the throne, Lord Buddha WENT toward the path of complete awareness...
This is a correct sentence even though verbs are used in a different tense.

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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jul 2017, 18:17
"Instead of" acts as a preposition

Which means that "Instead of" is usually followed by a Noun or a Noun phrase.

Usage : instead of + noun phrase. Instead of is only a preposition and can introduce only a phrase i.e no verb

"Instead" on the other hand is an adverb and usually starts or ends a clause.

"Rather than" can act as:
1] Preposition : hence can be followed by a prepositional phrase.
2] Conjunction: hence can be followed by a clause

Usage : "rather than + verb" or "rather than + noun" .

IMO, this might be the reason that GMAT prefers "rather than".

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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2017, 00:39
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1. 'Instead of, which means 'in the place of' is a prepositional phrase and hence, what follows must be a noun or noun phrase only. Therefore we can use 'instead of' only when we choose between two nouns.
On the contrary, rather than is a conjunction and hence could be used to compare both nouns and verbs.
As far as GMAT is concerned, it has a preference for 'rather than' since it is more broad-based and that is more likely to be parallel.
Although structurally both are different, it is doubtful whether there is any difference in meaning.
Except for one or two, it is difficult to see 'instead of'
as the correct answer in GMAT.
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Re: Rather than vs Instead of [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2017, 04:28
As has been suggested by various posters above, rather than shows comparative preference, while instead of means in place of someone or something.

Grammatically, rather than is more flexible than instead of and can be followed by verbs, adjectives, prepositional phrase, infinitive phase and even nouns/gerunds.

Also, it's handy to note that instead and instead of are fundamentally different: instead should be followed by a clause (since instead is an adverb) whereas instead of should be followed by a noun (since instead of is a preposition)

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Instead of Vs Rather than, its application and examples in significant detail. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.
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Re: Rather than vs Instead of   [#permalink] 05 Jul 2017, 04:28
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