English course in Malaysia – Big Ben Academy

Arash August 25, 2021 14:30

How to correctly use “Swap” , “Switch” , “change” and “exchange”?

There has been a lot of confusion around the words "switch," "swap," "exchange,” and "change." Usually it is for new English learners who seem to have a hard time differentiating these words and using them in the right situation. But don’t worry, this article will make it clear and guide you on how to use these keywords correctly.


Swapping normally happens between two people; they want to give and take something from or from each other, usually identical items or actions, although this rule is not set in stone.

“She swapped his cake for a chocolate bar.”

Sentence above is based on a situation where Alley’s mom bought her a piece of cake, but she is craving a chocolate bar. She decided to give her cake to her friend so she could get a chocolate bar.


Switching simply means replacing something with something else or moving from one state to another. Below are some examples of how to use “switch” properly in sentences.

  1. John switched off the lights.
  2. I want to switch from Chrome to Firefox. So you are replacing Chrome with Firefox.
  3. I want to switch my white t-shirt to black.

Unlike swap, this word does not require a second person to exchange items; instead, one person can switch objects.


The word "exchange" is mostly confused with "swap." In fact, both words are similar, but normally we use the word "exchange" when we want to trade things. In the old days, people used to trade their possessions. For example,

“David gave him a cow in exchange for their chickens.”

They could be two different items or in the same category, like money exchange or coin exchange. However, a swap does not convey the act of trading.


The word “change” means to make a difference, but it is different from the three other words above. Most of the time, beginners tend to use “change” instead of the other three words mentioned.

But what exactly do you mean when you say to a friend, "Let's switch seats"?

Example: Let’s say you and your friend are seated in the last row of the classroom, and you can’t see the board clearly. Then you should ask your friend,

"Let’s change our seats and move to the front row."

Of course, if your chair is broken and you are unable to sit anywhere else, you can also use the word "switch" instead of "change."

Hopefully you know the differences among switch, swap, change, and exchange. To fully understand this, you should use it more frequently in your daily life.

Business English course

Using the wrong words can cause awkward situations when dealing with people. Big Ben Academy is now offering English classes for working adults! Check it out for more information if you want to speak perfect English at your workplace.

Big Ben Academy - English Course Malaysia

Join Big Ben Academy

Speak English Confidently, Write English Fluently

[wpforms id="4228"]
Leave a Reply