Au lieu de

Au lieu de
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Essential French Expression

Meaning instead of, rather than
Literally in place of
Register normal
Pronunciation [oh lyeu deu]

Usage notes: Au lieu de is a very useful French expression for mentioning an alternative; it’s equivalent to "instead of" and "rather than," as well as its anglicized version "in lieu of."

 In English, "lieu" is pronounced [loo], but you can hear in the sound file above that the correct French pronunciation is [lyeu].

The alternative after au lieu de can be a noun, pronoun, or infinitive.

Par exemple…

Tu es soûl – prends de l’eau au lieu d’une autre bière.   You’re drunk – have some water rather than another beer.
Jacques va appeler au lieu de moi.   Jacques is going to call instead of me.
J’y vais à pied au lieu de conduire.   I’m walking there rather than driving.

Au lieu que can be used in front of a subordinate clause in the subjunctive, but it’s somewhat archaic, so it’s better to reword the sentence in order to use au lieu de instead.

Au lieu que tu fasses la cuisine, dînons en ville.   Rather than you cooking, let’s eat out.
 > Au lieu de faire la cuisine, dînons en ville..   Rather than cooking, let’s eat out.

Somewhat synonymous

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