A child is spinning with his arms spreading next to a mug of water.

According to dictionaries, to swing is used when someone does it on purpose. The boy is not doing it on purpose.

Is it natural to say Be careful! you might swing your hands at the mug by accident?

2 Answers 2


To swing is referring to what the girl in the following picture does.


What you are looking for is knock over.

Be careful, you might knock over the mug!

  • 1
    Not necessarily; we also speak of swinging one's arms. But, Tom, you always want to go into too much detail! If the mug is in danger of being knocked over, you don't need to spell out what behaviour is causing the danger. Oct 24, 2020 at 8:48

The phrase "swing your arms" is more idiomatic than "swing your hands", and it can purposeful or inadvertent motion. I think it would be a bit more natural to say "Be careful swinging your arms! You might hit the mug by accident." The phrase "swing at" does not indicate that contact with the mug was made, which is the worry that causes the caution in this case (in fact, "swing at" can imply that no contact is made).

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