Swinging is itself an action.

I believe I could say:

I swung on the swing.
I am swinging on the swing.
Do you want to swing on the swing?

Except all of those sound horrible to me.

We can also say:

Ride on the swing.

Is there a proper way of saying it?

  • My ear doesn't like "ride a swing" very much probably because riding is too passive. But you're right, the duplication sounds bad to us too though it is not incorrect. – shawnt00 Dec 17 '15 at 15:16

Those may sound horrible, but they are nonetheless relatively common when talking about playground swings.

I went swinging on the swing yesterday.

Such redundancies are sometimes inevitiable when the same word functions as both a noun and verb. Here are some other examples that sound just fine:

I had too many drinks when we went out drinking last night.
I went fishing but caught no fish.

That said, these may be inevitable, but they aren't necessarily unavoidable. Such sentences can usually be rewritten if the redundancies bother you:

I had too many drinks last night.
I went fishing but caught nothing.

In the case of the swing:

I was playing on the swing yesterday.
I was using the swingset yesterday.

Sure, you could say:

I went swinging yesterday.

but in the case of swinging, you might want to clarify that (see Collins #3).

  • thanks, but your dictionary says that swinging means moving to and fro. So, what about the swings which move in circular motion or up and down or where we don't apply any force and just keep on sitting? – CoffeeDay Dec 17 '15 at 9:58
  • I found "go on a swing". I wonder if that's a natural phrase for the occasion. As an aside, I recalled a nice poem by Stevenson (sung). – CowperKettle Dec 17 '15 at 10:01
  • 3
    @CoffeeDay - If it's a swing, you swing on it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that one dictionary tells the whole story; it often doesn't. See what Wordnik says for further information – it lists 26 verbal definitions from one dictionary alone, one of which is: To ride on a swing. – J.R. Dec 17 '15 at 10:35
  • Thanks much. In that case, please remove the collins dict and add Wordnik in you answer to avoid to the confusion. As a non native speaker, how should I know which dictionary is more correct? – CoffeeDay Dec 17 '15 at 10:44
  • 3
    @CoffeeDay - DId you miss what my Collins reference was trying to tell you? I tried to draw your attention to Definition #3, which says: "the practice of swapping sexual partners in a group, esp habitually." That's why you might want to avoid saying, "I went swinging yesterday." I deliberately picked a link with few definitions, so that meaning could be spotted more easily. As for your other question, it's usually not a matter of one dictionary being more "correct" than another, but one might be more comprehensive than another. My advice to learners? Start at OneLook.com, then go exploring. – J.R. Dec 17 '15 at 10:55

Correct. Swing itself is an action i.e. swing is a verb.

swing: to move backwards or forwards or from side to side while hanging from a fixed point

So, you can swing on something

But you also know what is that 'something'

There, 'swing' serves as a noun.

swing: a seat for swinging on

So, if you have verb and noun both swing, you can certainly say:

I am swinging (verb) on a swing (noun).

How do we identify? Check the countable noun that is taking an article there.

Google has patented on 'how to swing on a swing'! Still sounds horrible?

  • What if we don't apply any force and the swing move automatically? We can still say : "Swinging on a swing"? – CoffeeDay Dec 17 '15 at 9:54
  • swinging does not talk about any mode - manual or automatic. It talks about what and how that action happens i.e. to and fro, side to side etc. – Maulik V Dec 17 '15 at 10:15
  • see what collin's dic says in JR's answer. – CoffeeDay Dec 17 '15 at 10:19
  • Exactly, we did clarify that you were swinging on a swing and not anywhere else. Where's the ambiguity? – Maulik V Dec 17 '15 at 10:35

If you wish to avoid redundancies:

I rode the swing.

I'm riding the swing.

I really need to talk to this woman. Mind riding that swing for a while?

Not very common, but perfectly usable. Here's a pretty good article on the art of swinging on the swing:



For variety, you could use the term "swing set" to refer to the playground equipment:

"I enjoyed swinging on the swing set during recess at school."

"She played on the swing set for half an hour."


SWING RIDERS or RIDING THE SWING: Are the cowboys that ride the sides of the main body of the trail herd keeping them together and keeping them moving

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