Sentences often have the same subject when the "instead" is used this way:

(1) He doesn't keep himself in shape at the gym. Instead, he climbs mountains to stay fit.

(2) She didn't listen to the non-sense suggestions from the book. Instead, she consulted an expert.

I wonder if it is correct to use different subjects like this:

(3) Schools don't build soft or hard skills. Instead, students have to learn them by having a part-time job.

(4) I didn't lie to you. Instead, the things you heard are facts.

  • 1
    Yes, it is perfectly normal. The only example offered by the Cambridge Dictionary demonstrates this. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/instead
    – JavaLatte
    Feb 2, 2021 at 3:46
  • 'instead' is an adverb which suggests a different content. It doesn't relate to which subject it must use but relate to which content should come: a different topic
    – gomadeng
    Feb 2, 2021 at 4:06
  • In my opinion, (3) and (4) would read better if the subjects were the same. "Instead, they expect students to..." - "Instead, I told you only facts." Feb 2, 2021 at 9:40

1 Answer 1


"Instead" means "in place of." Sometimes "instead" is used in place of the word "rather." For example, from your question:

(4) I didn't lie to you. Rather, the things you heard are facts.

What subjects you use is not important so long as the thought hangs together and makes sense. For example, the following does not hang together and makes no sense:

The mail hasn't gone yet. Instead, the dogs are playing in the backyard.

There is no connection between the mail being delivered and the dogs playing in the backyard.

This makes sense:

It's too early to pick up the mail. Instead, we'll walk the dogs.

This is a choice between two activities "we" can do: pick up the mail--it's too early, or walk the dogs instead.

Some More Uses of Instead

The word "instead" can also be used at the end of a sentence, or in the middle. Let's say you're ordering at a restaurant. You think a certain item on the menu looks good.

The waitress says, "We're out of that today. Would you like this instead?"

You say, "Yes, that looks good but could I have olives with it instead of onion rings?"

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