Level 2 Grammar – nikawatte

~にかわって / ~にかわり
~nikawatte / ~nikawari
続: [名]+にかわって

This expression has two uses:

In place of~
To show that what is previously done by A is now done by B.
例文 1:

Koko de wa, ningen ni kawatte robotto ga sagyou shite iru.
Here, robots do the work instead of humans.

koko – here
ningen – human
robotto – robot
sagyou shite iru – working. Sagyou means work or operation.

例文 2:

Ima wa taipuraitaa ni kawari, waapuro ga tsukawarete iru.
Now, word processors are used in place of typewriters.


Ima – now

taipuraitaa – typewriter

waapuro – word processor

tsukawarete iru – being used

意味: *
By proxy~
To express replacement or substitution

Chichi ni kawatte, watashi ga kekkon shiki ni shusseki shimashita.
I attended the wedding ceremony on father’s behalf.


chichi – father

kekkon – wedding

shiki – ceremony

shusseki shimashita – attended (shusseki suru) . shusseki means attendance or presence.

*Can be used in both spoken and written Japanese.
I think imi (meaning) B is used for people only. (?)

This is similar to the expression kawari ni. One major difference between nikawatte and kawarini is that nikawatte is always used with a noun.

To demonstrate the difference between these two expression, here are some examples on the usage of kawari ni:

Ongakukai ni iku kawari ni, CD o 3mai kau hou ga ii to omou.
I think it’s better to buy 3 CDs instead of going to the concert.


ongakukai – concert

iku – go

mai – counter for flat objects

omou – think

In this example kawari ni is precceded by a verb phrase. This usage takes the meaning: As I will/did not do A, I will do B. Or simply put, I will do B instead of A. Be warned though that this usage is for written Japanese only.

Houtai no kawari ni, hankachi de kizuguchi o shibatta.
The wound was covered with a handkerchief instead of bandage.


houtai – bandage

hankachi – handkerchief

kizuguchi – wound. kizu means injury and guchi (kuchi) means opening. *


*some letters (consonants) are changed when connected to other words.

This is similar to the meaning of B above.

There is a third usage of kawarini which means “fitting of~; suiting~; be appropriate to~”.

Kono heya wa semai kawari ni, yachin ga yasui.


heya – room

semai – narrow

yachin – rental fee

yasui – cheap

I dont know the proper translation of the sentence above. How about :

The rental is cheap as the room is small.

If I try it literally:

The rental is cheap so it is appropriate that the room is small. (?)

or the other way around:

The room is small so it is appropriate that the rental is cheap. (?)

I clearly need help here. :”>

Anyway, I browsed though one chat conversation with a Japanese friend and I found this:
つまり、まずいものを食べたときに、英語で「It’s bad. It’s no tasty.」というかわりに「It’s intersting.」と言うのと似ています。

Im not sure about the 似ています part but here’s a rough translation of the sentence:
In other words, when you eat something not delicious, you say “It’s interesting” instead of “It’s bad. It’s not tasty”.

I think this falls under Do/Say B instead of A. I’m just not sure why it is for written Japanese only. Or maybe i made a wrong note on that. hmm I’ll confirm when I get a hold of my grammar dictionary.

If you do know which is used for which, please do leave a comment. I badly need corrections. 🙂
And if you have information on when to use にかわって or にかわり, please share with us. Arigatou gozaimasu!


A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar – ISBN-4789007758


2 Responses to Level 2 Grammar – nikawatte

  1. Max says:

    I have been looking over your page because I am studying exactly the same stuff to gear up for Nikyu. I am sitting next to a 国語 sensei at my school and I asked her about ~かわりに. It is written Japanese but she says it depends on the situation. I swear I hear it all the time. I would say use it both ways so long as it isn’t on a test. As for 意味B To express replacement or substitution, I agree that it is only for people. Otherwise you would just use に代えて.
    As for と似ています, I am not sure but I think it is saying that the situation is like something explained in the article. It could be translated as, “In other words when you have eaten something gross, it’s similar to saying “It’s interesting,” in English instead of saying “It’s bad. It’s not tasty.” Maybe that is right maybe not?

  2. shiRoi says:

    @Max: thanks for the input! ^_^

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