If someone has something that the other person wants and vice-versa, is it natural to use:

I switched my red scarf for her blue scarf.

I swapped my red scarf for her blue scarf.

I exchanged my red scarf for her blue scraf.

What sounds more natural:"switch/swap/exchange"?

3 Answers 3


You can use "switch" or "exchange", but the verb "swap" is specifically targeted for this kind of situation:

I swapped my red scarf for her blue scarf.

As James K points out, "swap" automatically implies mutual consent, while a "switch" or an "exchange" could be done surreptitiously.

Note I use "swap for" not "swap with". This is because you also "swap with" a person, "for" some other object:

At the beginning of each month all of us roommates have a random drawing to determine chores. I hate washing windows, so I swapped that with Fred for mowing the lawn.

It's not wrong to say "swap with", but in my mind this focuses the action on the objects swapped, rather than the exchange with another person.

Right before going to the cashier, I swapped the red dress with the blue dress.


Exchange sounds more natural when you take your item back to the store you bought it from. Between two people, I vote for traded as as the most natural-sounding word, but swapped or switched is fine, but use "with" as the other answer suggests.

However, there are events called gift exchanges where a group of friends each buy a gift and trade them randomly.


I would use "swap", but "exchange" is correct too. "Switch" is possible but I would prefer one of the other terms. "Swap" means that we agree to give each other our scarves. "Switch" could mean that I changed mine with hers, without telling her.

I would use "I swapped my red scarf with her blue one".

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