I have a blogger acquaintance who posts everyday. I don't know how he does it. I continue to read the Globe and Mail, but let errors go by because I'm just not up to railing against them. But this morning, after puzzling over a paragraph before I could understand it, I had to protest against the misuse of a word that caused me to lose a few precious moments of my day.
Read the following paragraph. Do you notice something odd about it? If you don't, then the error is insidious indeed.
Try lowering the calories in your favourite comfort food by substituting high-fat ingredients with lower-fat ones. For example, make chili with lean ground turkey instead of ground beef or top shepherd's pie with pureed cauliflower instead of mashed potato.
At first I was thrown. How would you lose weight by using high-fat instead of low-fat ingredients? Was this some kind of paleo diet recommendation? Then I realised I had been thrown off the track by the misuse of the word "substitute", which does not mean "to replace", but "to put something in the place of".
You replace an old item with a new item. You substitute the new item for the old item. Notice the prepositions. You won't go wrong if you remember that "substitute" can only be followed by "for", never "with".
So, the paragraph in this morning's paper should have read:
Try lowering the calories in your favourite comfort food by replacing high-fat ingredients with lower-fat ones.
Try lowering the calories in your favourite comfort food by substituting low-fat ingredients for higher-fat ones.
Try lowering the calories in your favourite comfort food by substituting high-fat ingredients with lower-fat ones.
This is an error to fight against, because it is confusing and misleading.