5

The following sentence is marked as wrong:

私は夜遅く帰る代わりに朝早く起きて勉強しています。

However, as I understand it, it can be translated as "On the one hand I come back home late, but on the other hand, I wake up early in the morning and study.". This sentence makes sense to me (despite coming back late, I still manage to wake up early and study).

Instead, the correct answer should be

私は夜早く寝る代わりに朝早く起きて勉強しています

which to me means "Instead of sleeping early, I wake up early". This makes less sense to me. What am I getting completely wrong in the usage of 代わりに?

7

私は夜早く寝る代わりに朝早く起きて勉強しています。

代わりに can also mean "in compensation / to make up (for)" (≂ 「埋め合わせに」「代償に」), "in return / in exchange (for)" (≂ お返しに). I think 代わりに here is closer to 埋め合わせに "to make up" "to compensate". So, would this make more sense to you:

"I go to bed early. (But) I get up and study early in the morning to compensate / to make up (for the loss)."

≂ 私は早く寝ます。(でも)その代わりに朝早く起きて勉強しています。
(lit. "I go to bed early. (But) I get up and study early in the morning instead.")

A few similar examples:

私は夜遅く帰る代わりに、昼まで寝ています。
I go home late at night. So I sleep till noon to make up for my lack of sleep.

家事の手伝いをしてもらう代わりに英語を教えている。*
I teach her English in exchange for [in return for] her help with housekeeping.

彼は頭脳[明晰]{めいせき}である代わりに体が丈夫でない。*
He has a sharp mind, but he's not strong physically.

その娘は器量はあまり良くないが、その代わりとても気立てが優しかった。*
She wasn't very good-looking, but she had a very tender heart to make up for it.

*Examples taken from プログレッシブ和英中辞典.

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