Word Confusion: In Lieu Of versus In Light Of

Posted August 29, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 18 February 2018

In lieu of the story that inspired this word confusion — for some reason, I didn’t make a note of it — I’ll wing it with “6-volt flashlights were used in light of the oil lamps”.

Now, I reckon “in light of” would have come to mind because of all the other lights in the sentence. Unfortunately, the “translation” comes out as “6-volt flashlights were used because of the oil lamps”. Okay, that doesn’t work. How about “”6-volt flashlights were used in consideration of the oil lamps” or “6-volt flashlights were used in relationship to the oil lamps”. It could work. The oil lamps could be considered to not cast enough light, so the flashlights were necessary.

Of course, if the clause were changed to “6-volt flashlights were used in lieu of the oil lamps”, it would translate out as they preferred the flashlights to the oil lamps or there was some reason the oil lamps couldn’t be used.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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In Lieu Of In Light Of
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: in light of

A shaped wooden tag with the picture of an ox on it

“Ema 6224” is Frank “Fg2” Gualtieri‘s own work which he released into the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Back in the day, in lieu of a real ox, tablets of wood with depictions of the animal on them were donated to a Shinto shrine (jinja).

Parade of protestors carrying umbrellas and a long banner

“Million People March in Luneta Against Pork Barrel” is Ryomaandres’ own work is under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.

In light of the scam revealed about the Priority Development Assistance Fund, a Million People March erupted.

Part of Grammar:
Idiom Idiom
In place of, instead

To replace something or substitute something for it
Drawing knowledge or information from

Taking into account

Because of


Taking (something) into consideration

In relationship to

Chez Nous has run out of clams and are serving French onion soup in lieu of chowder.

The company issued additional shares to shareholders in lieu of a cash dividend.

The recipe says we can use 2% milk in lieu of whole milk.

He got stock in the company in lieu of a bonus for all the extra work he had done.

In lieu of cash, Jane paid for dinner with a credit card.

It was necessary to review the decision in the light of recent developments.

In light of recent developments, we’re postponing our meeting.

In the light of the weather forecast, we’ve canceled the picnic.

He got a special bonus in light of all the extra work he had done.

The exorbitant prices are explainable in light of the facts.

Idiom: in the light of, in view of
History of the Word:
Middle English via the French from the Latin locus meaning place. Dates from the late 1600s.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

The Ladies Home Journal (1948) by via Internet Archive Book Images has no restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons. Click if you’d like to view this volume of N.C. Wyeth’s Ladies Home Journal online.

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