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He struck a sword into the air.

If we say he struck a sword into the air, it means someone struck a sword with something other than a sword or a sword and deflected it into the air.

But if we say:

He swung a sword into the air.

It means that he swung his sword into the air as though there was a target in his mind, imagination.

Is there a way to say that you swing a sword into the air as though you're imagining yourself fighting against an imaginary opponent since you don't have any sparring partner? I can't think of a way to say it.

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    And why do you need to use "strike" when you mean "swing"?
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 2:16
  • you can use strike in an intransitive manner, but if you use it transitively I can't think of a way to say it.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 2:20
  • You could "strike at" an imaginary opponent with a sword
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 2:25
  • I like the sentence "He swung a sword at the air". It communicates exactly what is intended and requires minimal modification to the original sentence.
    – PoolOfPeas
    Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 4:07

1 Answer 1

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He struck a sword in the air

is ambiguous and not particularly idiomatic. It may mean

He thrust his sword into the air

or, possibly,

He knocked someone else’s sword into the air.

And the sentence

He swung his sword in the air

is idiomatic but vague. Depending on what you mean, better might be

He brandished his sword above his head

or

His sword sliced though empty air.

There is not always a single word that captures a complex idea. If there were, no book need contain more than a single word.

There are literally millions of way to say what you want.

John thrust, lunged, ducked, twisted away, and parried vigorously against an opponent conjured up by John’s imagination.

John practiced his swordplay against an imaginary duelist.

Adjectives and adverbs have their uses.

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