Grammar Lesson: Instead / Instead of / Rather than

Mini Grammar lesson: How to use instead / instead of / rather than.

When writing essays in IELTS task 2 (It also comes in handy for the speaking test) , we often need to use “instead” or “rather than” to show preference, changing trends, opinions or facts. Here are some sentences based on the topic of technology and internet use.

Examples:

  • These days, people use smartphones to browse the internet instead of using a laptop or desktop PC.
  • These days, people use smartphones rather than a laptop or desktop PC to browse the internet.
  • Instead of using a laptop or desktop PC, most people use smartphones to browse the internet these days.
  • It used to be very common to use a Laptop or desktop PC to browse the internet, these days most people use a smartphone instead.

The above sentences all mean the same , I have just played around with the structure of the sentences to show how the words instead, rather than or instead of can be used.

Grammar rules:

  • Instead of + gerund (-ing) ..noun is also possible
    Rather than + noun or gerund

“Instead of ” can be at the start of the sentence as in sentence number 3 or just” instead” at the end in sentence number 4. This can also be used to express a changing trend or an opinion, see examples below. (I can also use rather than)

Changing Trends:

  • All around the world, there is a growing trend of people using smartphones to browse the internet instead of using desktop PCs.
  • In recent times, instead of browsing the internet with a desktop PC, most people are using smartphones.

Opinions:

  • Instead of using books to study, children should use iPads to help them learn in school.
  • I believe it would be better if schools used iPads to teach children, instead of using textbooks.
  • I think it would be better if schools used iPads, rather than using textbooks to teach kids.

Exercise.  (on the topic of Technology and the Internet.)

Now you can try…complete these sentences with your own ideas. remember to use -ing or gerunds

1. Nowadays, people prefer to use apps to study English  _____  ____  _____ web pages.
2. _______  ____ _______ in an office, many employees are working at home now because of advances in telecommuting.
3. Other forms of social networking are becoming very popular_______  ____ Facebook.
4. In my opinion , it would be much more effective for teachers to use powerpoint presentations in the classroom _______ _______  _______  with the same old textbooks.
5. Email is not popular recently, it is very common for people these days to keep in touch via WhatsApp  ________

Can you write full sentences using these ideas?.  Try to use “instead of”  “rather than”  “instead’  you can change the sentence to give your opinion.

1. Kids playing computer games / should be playing outside.
2. Spending all the time on smartphones / people need to have face to face communication.
3. Nowadays facebook is not as popular / messaging apps more popular.
4. Smartphones are used more for internet browsing / desktop PCs.

1. Nowadays, people prefer to use apps to study English instead of using web pages.
2. Instead of working in an office, many employees are working at home now because of advances in telecommuting.
3. Other forms of social networking are becoming very popular rather than Facebook.
4. In my opinion , it would be much more effective for teachers to use powerpoint presentations in the classroom instead of teaching with the same old textbooks.
5. It is very common for people these days to keep in touch via WhatsApp instead.

1. These days kids love playing computer games, I think they should be playing outside instead
2. Instead of spending all their time on smartphones, It would be a good idea if people had more face to face communication.
3. Nowadays facebook is not as popular, messaging apps more popular instead
4. Smartphones are used more for internet browsing rather than desktop PCs.