The following sentence is taken from the Cambridge Dictionary:

Dayton was substituted for Williams in the second half of the game.

What does it mean?

Thank you

teal limeDayton was substituted for Williams in the second half of the game. What does it mean?

Williams was playing. Williams was taken out and Dayton was put in. After the substitution, Dayton was playing and not Williams.

Another way to say it: They substituted Dayton for Williams.



Are you familiar with English football?

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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.

Are you familiar with English football?

I'm pretty sure the question was about the use of the word 'substituted', not about football. Emotion: smile



Does it mean that the coach/manager substituted Dayton for Williams or the other way round?

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teal limesubstituted Dayton for Williams



Well, I'm a native speaker and I don't follow sports that much. I have to say that I really had to think. I wasn't so sure. The example is also a passive construction, which makes it difficult.

A was a replacement for B

B was replaced by A

Same thing.


The language of sports does come up a lot with ESL students, however.

No, in the context of football, it means Dayton was playing, and Williams then replaced him in the second half.

At least that is how English speakers use it outside of North America (where, in soccer contexts, you'll see "subbed off" or "subbed in" to avoid confusion).

But Google "was substituted for" + football and try to find one result where the meaning of "X was substituted for Y" is "X replaced Y" - there are none. Below are some examples:

The moment Beckham was substituted for his own son | Goal.com (Beckham was playing, then his son came on to replace him)

Why Alex Telles was substituted for Luke Shaw in Man Utd win as time-wasting footage emerges - Irish Mirror Online (Alex Telles was playing until he was replaced by Luke Shaw in the 84th minute)

Ronaldo's Stunning Reaction After Being Substituted For Lingard During Man United Loss To Young Boys ▷ SportsBrief.com (Ronaldo was playing and was evidently disgusted at being replaced by Lingard)

Paul Pogba's Manchester United Career Is Over, He's Played His Final Game (sportbible.com) From the article: "As soon as Pogba was substituted for Jesse Lingard, Gary Neville, on co-commentary, said, 'That could be Paul Pogba's last minutes in a Manchester United shirt, if that injury lasts for a few weeks.'"

It's not that strange that ESL speakers would be confused by "substitute X for Y" as in pretty much any other language, it will mean, "replace X with Y" - and indeed, as illustrated by the examples I've given, that is the way it is used in a footballing context in UK & Ireland.

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