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"As he slipped down into the sea, his life vest kept him from going under. Bobbing in the water, he placed the end of his snorkel tube into his mouth."

Does "bobbing in the water" here mean go underwater and exhale for a few seconds, and then surface, take in another breath, and then go under and surface for a few more times?

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"Bobbing in the water" means floating on the surface, and implies that the bobbing object is buoyant and moving rhythmically in response to the movement of the surface. Its use here does not imply that the swimmer is repetitively going above and below the surface.

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Bobbing in the water means making quick short movements up and down. It doesn't tell us anything about breathing though. That might be found out from the context.

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