Abstract: In this paper, we discuss the addition of substitutions as a further type of operations to (in particular, context-free) insertion-deletion systems, i.e., in addition to insertions and deletions we allow single letter replacements to occur. We investigate the effect of the addition of substitution rules on the context dependency of such systems, thereby also obtaining new characterizations of and even normal forms for context-sensitive (CS) and recursively enumerable (RE) languages and their phrase-structure grammars. More specifically, we prove that for each RE language, there is a system generating this language that only inserts and deletes strings of length two without considering the context of the insertion or deletion site, but which may change symbols (by a substitution operation) by checking a single symbol to the left of the substitution site. When we allow checking left and right single-letter context in substitutions, even context-free insertions and deletions of single letters suffice to reach computational completeness. When allowing context-free insertions only, checking left and right single-letter context in substitutions gives a new characterization of CS. This clearly shows the power of this new type of rules.