I sent the following sentences to some Japanese friends of mine and all of them seem to agree that the second one is more natural here. This left me wondering why 代わりに does not work in this situation if it is supposed to mean "instead of, in place off, substitute"

1.) 今日僕は中国の店で突然日本人の母子供に出会って、会話をするときに、発音を間違えたからその子に「かわいい」じゃなくて「こわい」と言ってしまった

2.) 今日僕は中国の店で突然日本人の母子供に出会って、会話をするときに、発音を間違えたから、その子に「かわいい」代わりに「こわい」と言ってしまった

Does this expression have some kind of restriction?

  • 2
    You are asking why 代わりに doesn't work but the second sentence is the one containing 代わりに. Did you mean to say your friends claimed the first sentence sounded more natural?
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 17:09
  • Yh, my bad. I re-edited the post and got them mixed. My Japanese friends said number 1 is more natural
    – user31418
    Commented Jan 19, 2022 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


From a grammatical aspect, you need の before 代わりに. When you use 代わりに at the beginning of a sentence, の is not needed.

However 「かわいい」の代わりに「こわい」と言ってしまった is still a bit strange as 代わりに implies intentional meaning. じゃなくて (or ではなくて) can be used for both intentional and unintentional cases so this time じゃなくて sounds natural.

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