Using each bold verb, how do the following sentences differ in meaning:

- A large group of protesters swarmed the national parliament’s building.

- A large group of protesters rushed into the national parliament’s building.

I think:

1) The second sentence implies that the protesters have entered the building already.

2) The first sentence has an implication of harshness, while the second one implies that people went there because of an interest.

Do you confirm my understandings? Can you add something to these points which you guess I have to know about these two similar verbs?

1 Answer 1


I don't think statement 1 is true. Statement 2 is true so far as the sentence does actually imply the protesters entered the building.

Swarmed would imply a somewhat disordered mass of people. We might describe a large group of bees as a "swarm" and that group could be said to "swarm into the cave" (or similar). So, then your first sentence implies the group of protesters entered the building as disorganized mass of people. Also, swarm without the "into" would not imply they enter the building, but are at least grouped around it.

A large group of protesters swarmed into the national parliament's building

This variant does imply the protesters entered (in the form of a large mass)

"Rushed into":

This sentence more implies the speed they entered the building as opposed to the "shape" the group had.


I rushed into the building

This is grammatical and completely understandable

I swarmed the building

This is not really idiomatic or understandable.

  • I got your point "eques". Anyway, do you confirm, where there is an implication of interest, then we cannot use: "swarm" or "rush" and the only choice would be "flock to"? E.g. (- People have flocked to the exhibition. -)
    – A-friend
    Jan 6, 2015 at 15:20
  • 1
    "Flock to" would tend to imply interest of some form as far as I can tell. "Swarm" or "rush" do not on their own seem to imply "interest" but context could make that possible.
    – eques
    Jan 6, 2015 at 15:44
  • Yes, "The shoppers rushed into the store as soon as it opened to try to get the sale items before they were gone." uses rush where there is definitely interest.
    – Jim
    Jan 7, 2015 at 4:27
  • Another interesting note is that rush can describe the actions of each person in the group whereas swarm can only describe the action of the group as a whole.
    – Jim
    Jan 7, 2015 at 4:29

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