Which of the following should be used:

Swap big portions of food over smaller ones.


Swap big portions of food with smaller ones.

Thank you.

  • In my opinion, it should be "with" – user76781 Jun 16 '18 at 18:55
  • This is proofreading which is off-topic, unless you can add why you chose those words. You might consider "prefer (something) over (something else)" vs. "swap (something) with (something else)." – user3169 Jun 16 '18 at 21:48
  • @user3169: If they've identified a specific word in the sentence to ask about, it's not proofreading. If you have no clue what they want to know about it, it might be unclear/Details Please. Or it might just be time to downvote instead of super-downvoting with a close vote. – Nathan Tuggy Jun 17 '18 at 0:21

It may depend what you want


to mean.

Swap big portions of food with smaller ones.
Substitute big portions of food with smaller ones.

Swap big portions of food over to smaller ones.
Change big portions of food to smaller ones.

In your examples, there is very little difference in meaning.


That is such a great question, because the answer is nuanced.

In the particular construction that you've used, I invariably encounter "for" or "with." The question is, why?

A "swap" is an exchange of items that are in some sense of equal value, even if one is more preferable or useful than the other. In "swap with" and "swap for" constructions, there is a subtle emphasis of the equality between the items. In the construction "swap over to," the subtle emphasis shifts to the desirability of the chosen item.

Thus, "swap big portions with (or for) smaller ones" subtly implies that the choice is between to valid alternatives. "Swap big portions over to small ones" emphasizes the desirability of the preferred choice and subtly implies an inequality between the two.

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