I found two translations for "instead of": вместо or взамен. What's the acceptable one for the following contexts?

I want to say for example that "I want red instead of blue, house instead of apartment". "I bought a fork instead of spoon.". Which of these two should I use?

N.b. I found here this answer, but it deals with other question.

3 Answers 3


взамен emphasizes replacing or changing one thing to another.

Я купил скутер взамен велосипеда. (I bought a scooter to replace a bike.) He had the bike, but he bought the scooter to use it instead of the bike.

Я купил новую лампочку взамен старой. (I bought a new light bulb to replace old one.)

вместо means one instead of another.

Я купил скутер вместо велосипеда. (I planned to buy a bike, but I bought a scooter).


What fits in your examples is вместо

Взамен is used when you (wish to) replace something you already possess as заменить means to replace

Я поставил новый замок взамен старого

or (expect to) receive something in return for what you share or offer

Мы уважаем все клубы и ожидаем того же взамен


Взамен is typically about replacing something for a reason, e. g. the old thing is already (or expected to be) gone (lost or given/promised to somebody), can't be used anymore. The idea of compensation (finding a good replacement) is here:

Взамен украденного/поломанного велосипеда он купил новый (или купил мопед).

Если ты отдашь мне эту редкую монету, я взамен дам тебе любую другую (или окажу важную услугу).

Вместо has much wider meaning and is applicable to both things and actions (instead or rather than doing something).

Вместо шляпы на ходу он надел сковороду.

Вместо лампочки накаливания лучше поставить светодиодную.

Вместо того, чтобы обратиться в полицию, он решил сам наказать обидчика.

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