“Replacement for” and “replacement of”
Prepositions and particles are tricky in any language. It’s not an easy matter to explain why some words are followed by to while others are followed by in or for. The native speaker just “knows.”
Recently, I’ve noticed the use of “to” with the word replacement where I’d expect “for” or “of.”
Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics…
Offers a cost effective replacement to broken parcel shelf string…
i have lost 12v ac 2.4 power adapter when moving home and am looking for a replacement to said item…
The two most frequent meanings of replacement are
a person who or thing which replaces another; a substitute.
The action or an act of replacing something
When replacement is used in the first sense, it’s synonymous with substitute. For that reason, “for” is the obvious choice:
I need a replacement for my windshield wiper.
We need a replacement for Mr. Jones the math teacher.
It seems to me that in all three of the examples given above, “for” is the obvious choice:
Homeopathy as a replacement (substitute) for antibiotics…
cost effective replacement (substitute) for broken parcel shelf string…
looking for a replacement (substitute) for said item.
Used in the second sense, replacement is followed by “of.”
Requests for the issuance or replacement of military service medals…
Operations involve either metal pinning with screws and/or plates or replacement of the hip joint with artificial parts…
That’s not to say that “to” must never follow the word replacement. The word is often followed by an infinitive:
Sansom’s replacement to be decided today…
SMPT gateway replacement to make mail testing easier
Sometimes replacement is followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with “to”:
Procedure now calls for the mayor to nominate a replacement to the board…
Budget woes delay shuttle replacement to 2015
However, in these examples, the “to” phrases do not qualify replacement; they modify the verbs: the shuttle replacement is being delayed to 2015; the mayor’s choice will be nominated to the board.
What’s the consensus? Is “replacement to” instead of “replacement for” a regional thing, or an aberration?
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