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.

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