substitute (for)/ cover (for) ?

Is it “I’m substituting Peter”, “I’m substituting for Peter” or is it the same ?

And what about “I’m covering Peter”, “I’m covering for Peter”, does this have the same meaning as “substituting (for)” and do both sentences have the same meaning ?

Hello, Biro - and welcome to

‘For’ is required in both sentences, and they mean the same (although ‘covering for’ also has another meaning: provide an excuse or alibi for someone so as to cover up guilt.)

Hello Biro,

Although I agree with MM (of course!), I can think of a specific situation where, with a slight adaptation to your sentence, it might be possible to use 'covering ’ without ‘for’:

Teachers are sometimes asked to provide ‘cover’ for other members of staff - to teach their classes in their absence. In this case, I have heard such phrases as:
Can you cover Mr Clark’s class today?
I’m covering Miss Pring’s class this morning.
It is possible that ‘cover’ is used in this way in other places of work, when speaking about doing work on behalf of someone else in their absence.

‘I’m covering Peter’ would require ‘for’, but ‘I’m covering Peter’s work’ or ‘I’m covering Peter’s class’ would not.


Surely ‘cover for’ has to have a personal object and ‘cover’ on its own has an impersonal object.



Peter - personal
work/class - impersonal

Where’s the problem?


This expression

seems to have become a bit of a mantra with you. What I was trying to do for the benefit of Biro rather than for you, was to explain the distinction in general terms rather than with examples.


Thank you for clearing that up. As you used ‘surely’, I thought otherwise.

Personally I wouldn’t consider use of the same phrase twice to be a mantra. It’s a simple enquiry. Thank you for the confirmation that you saw the other post though.