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Instead of wishing that you could move ahead, thinking of waiting as a chance to relax and bring yourself to a state of balance.


Instead of and rather than are sometimes confounded confused. Are they interchangeable in this case?

Thanks,
Haddock
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Hello Pastel

I'm taking it that 'thinking' should be 'think'.

'Instead of' suggests a replacement ('think of...') for 'wishing...'.

'Rather than' suggests the same replacement for 'wishing...', on the basis of a comparison.

e.g.

1. I bought salt instead of pepper. (This doesn't necessarily imply that a comparison of the relative merits of salt and pepper was made, and salt chosen on that basis. For instance, buying salt may have been a mistake.)

2. I bought salt rather than pepper. (This would usually imply that some comparison was made, and salt chosen on that basis. But it might also be used simply for a mistake.)

In your original sentence, the use of an imperative already implies 'this is better than that'. So substituting 'rather than' for 'instead of' doesn't make much difference.

Why 'haddock'?

MrP
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Hi, MrP,

Thanks for lihgtening the road and sorry for the delay. My prehistoric computer has been being funny these days. I almost lost my head, too.

"Rather than" would imply somewhat comparison whereas instead of" not often the case. In one of your parentheses, I noticed your usage of "would" in "This would usually imply that some comparison was made, and salt chosen on that basis. But it might also be used simply for a mistake." I reckon that you know what I'm going to say. We have some discussions about "would" somewhere out there. You could omit "would" in this case simply to say "this usually implies..." but you didn't. So I would think that you were expressing your opinion in a more humble way. The omssion of "would", however, doesn't necessarily mean less humble. I need your comment on this.

Haddock? He's an interesting Captain in Tintin's adventures. I wouldn't say he is numskull but he's near there. Most of the time, he is not in the situation and is always murmuring and grumbling.

Thanks,
Paddock
A gross slur on a very fine fish.


Part 1: Rambling Rumination
...This would usually imply...

I find myself in some difficulty here. Certainly 'This usually implies' sounds more confident than 'This would usually imply'.

But why does 'This usually implies' sound confident in the first place?

First, we have 'implies': hardly a confident verb. If you challenge me, I can always say, Well, Pastel, I only said 'implies'...I didn't say 'means'.

Second, we have 'usually': a distinctly cagey adverb. If you challenge me, I can always say, Well, Pastel, I only said 'usually'...I didn't say 'always'.

So we've already attained double humility. How much more humble can we get? Yet 'This usually implies' sounds quite confident.

And we can, apparently, get more humble: 'This would usually imply...' Triple humility.

And now, I feel the sentence is indeed 'humble'. But where does that humility reside?

In 'would', of course...

Ah yes. So, if you challenge me, I can always say, Well, Pastel, I only said 'would'. Or can I? What does 'would' mean here? Well, we usually say 'politeness', or 'deference', or 'remoteness', at this point...Signifying the speaker's 'distancing' himself from his own words.

But then, that would (!) suggest that 'This would imply' on its own must sound humble. But in fact, it sounds – fairly confident. (Perhaps over-confident.)


Part 2: Highly Suspect Conclusion
So as I say, I find myself in some difficulty. I can only conclude:

1. 'This usually implies' sounds quite confident.
2. 'This would imply' also sounds confident, in this context.
3. 'This would usually imply' sounds quite humble.

I don't know if you're familiar with the concept of 'weasel words'. I suspect that what we have here is a trio of weasel words: 'would', 'imply', 'usually'. Perhaps we hear them so often in contexts where the speaker is simply unwilling to commit himself to an opinion, that we now automatically discount their true meaning, and e.g. interpret #1 and #2 simply as 'This means' – i.e. 'confident'.

But #3 is so heavily laden with weasel words, that we can't quite discount their meaning; and so we accept it as (at least a desire to seem) fairly humble.

I hope that doesn't sound half as Haddockesque to you as it does to me.

MrP
that was a quite humble explanation...
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