代わる vs. 代える

Can anyone enlighten me on the difference between these two? Different usages maybe? Otherwise, to my ignorant beginner eyes, they seem like synonyms for “to replace” or “to substitute”.

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Are you familiar with the concept of transitivity? 代わる is intransitive (it doesn’t take a direct object). 代える is transitive (it does take a direct object).

Basically, in a sentence with 代わる something replaces something else. With 代える, someone replaces something with something else.

AがBに代わる
AがBをCに代える
Or just
AがBを代える

It’s kind of hard to talk about it without examples, but the nice thing is there are example sentences!

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Thanks for your help!

Tom eats. What does he eats? Doesn’t matter for the validity of the sentence, it’s complete.
Tom throws. Does the same apply here? It doesn’t - we need to know what he throws, else the sentence is incomplete.

代わる is like “eat”, it doesn’t need an object (a “what”)
代える however does.

That sentence should use 代わる with the translation you provided (and obviously 人を becomes ungrammatical, not just omitted).

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Yeah, problem is the English.
“I’ll put dad on the phone”
This isn’t myself that’s being switched out here.

Maybe a different example would have been better… switching out materials, switching out this or that. Phone was just the first thing that came to mind.

(話の)相手が代わった
タイヤを代えた

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