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Why did she give you the keys instead to her parents?

Why did she give you the keys instead of to her parents?

What's the correct version? And why? (Both sound equally correct to me, but maybe that's because English isn't my native tongue.)

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    Why did she give the keys to you instead of to her parents?
    – Joe Dark
    Oct 8, 2015 at 8:51
  • @JoeDark Oh, I think this is the correct sentence. Thanks!
    – wyc
    Oct 8, 2015 at 8:54
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    The "to" after "instead of" is optional, since the structure before and after "instead of" is parallel. Oct 8, 2015 at 9:00

2 Answers 2

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None!

It is used as a preposition in such context.

instead of: in the place of somebody/something

So,

Why did she give the keys to you instead of her parents?

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    Or "... instead of to her parents?" Leaving out the "to" creates the ambiguity that we may be talking about the giver, the thing given, or the receiver. In this case it's unlikely that she gave you her parents, but consider, "Why did Al recommend Bob to Charlie instead of David?" Do we mean that David might have done the recommending? That Al might have recommended David? Or that Al might have recommended Bob to David? You need some extra words to make it clear.
    – Jay
    Oct 8, 2015 at 14:07
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It must be "instead of", so the first one is not correct.

Although the second one is "instead of", the structure before and after is not parallel. Perhaps you should change the verb phrase "give sb sth" as

"give the key to you instead of her parents".

If you say "give you the key instead of her parents", people may get the idea that "her parents" should be given to you, not the key.

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