Archive for January 6, 2011

grammatical expression: in lieu (of)

Today I’d like to write about an expression that I was teaching to some of my students just before the holiday. The expression is “in lieu” and it is usually followed by the preposition “of”. It basically has the same meaning as “in place of”. We use it when we want to talk about replacing a customary activity with another activity. Let me give you some examples:

For my grandfather’s funeral, my family would like people to send a donation to cancer research in lieu of sending us flowers.

In order to celebrate my father’s birthday, my family and I decided to have a quiet dinner at home in lieu of a big party.

This store gives customers discounts on future purchases in lieu of refunds.

My friend does various jobs for his landlord in lieu of paying rent.

A: Do you get paid extra for overtime work at your company?

B: No, my company doesn’t do that. They give us time in lieu instead.

In the case of this last example, “time in lieu” is a set expression which means that the person will receive time off from work in the same amount of overtime that was worked. This system is often used by companies that can’t afford to pay overtime to their employees. So, if a person works eight hours of overtime, they will get one day off in lieu of being paid overtime.

By the way, the pronunciation of the word “lieu” is /lew/.

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