Sorry! Search is currently unavailable while the database is being updated, it will be back in 5 mins!

4 Ways to Say "Instead" in Spanish

Do you know how to express the idea of "instead" and "instead of" in Spanish? Today's brief lesson will teach you four common ways to do so, as always with examples from Yabla's Spanish video library.


1. En vez de (instead of)

Perhaps the most common way to say "instead of" in Spanish is en vez de. Alternative translations for en vez de are the English synonyms "rather than" or "in place of." Let's see this phrase in context:


cierran a las ocho y media en vez de a las nueve, ¿correcto?"

you close at eight-thirty instead of at nine, correct?"

Caption 47, Aprendiendo con Silvia Horas, fechas y períodos de tiempo - Part 4

 Play Caption


Sam compró seis melones en vez de seis limones.

Sam bought six melons instead of six lemons.

Caption 36, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2: Sam va de compras - Part 5

 Play Caption


2. En lugar de (instead of)

En lugar de literally means "in place of" of and is another way to say "instead of" in Spanish. Let's see two examples:


En lugar de plumas amarillas, las suyas eran grises

Instead of yellow feathers, his were grey,

Captions 22-23, Cleer El patito feo

 Play Caption


No se olviden que en lugar de "finalmente" también podría decir "por último"

Don't forget that instead of "finally" I could also say "lastly"

Captions 32-33, Natalia de Ecuador Los adverbios de orden

 Play Caption


3. En cambio

The Spanish phrase en cambio can be translated as "instead" in certain contexts (other possible translations include "however" and "whereas"). Let's take a look. 


Si en cambio queremos usarlo para expresar una valoración, lo usamos con un verbo en modo subjuntivo.

If instead we want to use it to express a valuation, we use it with a verb in the subjunctive mood.

Captions 52-53, Carlos explica Cómo expresar opiniones en español - Part 3

 Play Caption


Otras en cambio lo tiran o lo destruyen

Others instead throw it away or destroy it

Caption 39, Los Reporteros Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 3

 Play Caption


4. Mejor

Finally, although mejor is most commonly translated as "better" or "best," it can function like "instead" in certain contexts, as we see here:


Pero, vecino, mejor le recomiendo usar la opción de agua fría; 

But, neighbor, I recommend using the cold water option instead;

Caption 27, Cristina Lavandería

 Play Caption


That's all for today. Now that you know four different ways to express the idea of "instead" in Spanish, we suggest you practice by coming up with your own sentences with each of them. And don't forget to write us with your suggestions and comments.




You May Also Like