I was just reading an Opinion Piece in the New York Times in which the columnist uses the phrase "the substitution of reality with 'reality'", complaining that facts don't matter to the current President.

To my mind, there are two "correct" ways to say this: "the substitution of 'reality' for reality" and "the replacement of reality with 'reality'".

This use of "substitute" as a synonym for "replace" seems to me to be fairly new, but that may be because I've been paying more attention to it. Is it accepted usage, and if so, when did this happen?

For more context, here's the complete paragraph that the phrase is in:

The book is Peter Pomerantsev’s “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible.” It was published in 2014, and it brilliantly tells the story of the (Soviet-born) British author’s sojourn as a producer for Russian TV. As the title suggests, at its heart it’s the tale of the substitution of reality with “reality,” of factual truth with interpretive possibility.

The full piece is here.

  • Could you please provide a little more context, such as a sentence or two before and after the one you're asking about? Could you please also provide a link to the quoted material? – AmE speaker Nov 30 '17 at 15:13
  • 1
    @Clare -- sure. I didn't include it originally because the piece is rather political, and I didn't want to distract from my question. – Pete Becker Nov 30 '17 at 18:22
  • I edited your post for readability. And I don't think the political context will bother people because it's someone else's opinion being presented. Feel free to revert my edits. – AmE speaker Nov 30 '17 at 18:50

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