Friday, May 3

Language Exchange

Today we are going to learn how to use “exchange” and other similar words.  Because in life, it’s common to talk about a situation that involves 2 things.

images courtesy of stock.xchng unless otherwise stated

These are our target words for today:

#1. Exchange

#2. Replace

#3. Substitute

#4. Switch

#5. Swap

As an Adjective or Noun  

First of all, it’s easy to use our words as Adjectives or Nouns.

I’m sure you’ve already heard some of these expressions:


Exchange student (=Adjective)

Foreign exchange (=Noun)

Replacement killer (=Adjective)

Replacement Killers” is the title of a 1998 action film starring Chow Yun-Fat.

Copyright: Columbia Pictures 

Substitute teacher (=Adjective)

Policy switch (=Noun)

House swap (= Noun)

A “house swap” means a situation where 2 families exchange houses for a vacation. Just like in the romantic movie “Holiday” starring Cameron Diaz.

Copyright: Columbia Pictures 


If you want, you can also use our words alone.


They were having a heated exchange in the office. 
(= angry conversation)

Because Mrs. Mills has been absent for a while now, we are looking for her replacement.

A substitute (= player) has entered the game.

If you don’t like your cellphone, we can do a swap.

More and more mothers are making the switch to organic baby food.

As a Verb

It’s easy enough to understand and use our words as Adjectives or Nouns. But when you use them as Verbs, that’s when it gets complicated.


Because you have to think about 2 (sometimes 3) things being mentioned inside your sentence.

Let me show you…

But first, you have to remember these very useful formulas:

Exchange A for B

Replace A with B

Substitute B for A

Switch A for B

Swap A for B

There are 2 important things that we can learn from our formulas above.

# 1. Preposition. It’s important to remember the correct Preposition for each word, so you don’t mix them up.

Like this:

Exchange + for

Replace + with

Substitute + for

Switch + for

Swap + for

Even though Prepositions are very short words, your sentence will be wrong if you combine the Verb with the wrong Preposition. So please keep our formulas in mind.

# 2. Nouns. What do the letters “A” and “B” mean?

Exchange A for B

Replace A with B

Substitute B for A

Switch A for B

Swap A for B

Well, to put it simply:

A = the old thing / person

B = the new thing / person

It’s also important to remember where to put A and where to put B because, even though our words have exactly the same form:

Substitute for

Swap for

Switch for

Their Nouns are opposite:

Substitute B for A

Swap A for B

Switch A for B

The simple letters “A” and “B” above are connected to the deeper meaning of your sentence, or your situation. This is why it is very important that you don’t mix these 2 letters.

For example, if we follow our formulas, we can make these examples:

Where can I exchange my yen for baht? = Ok

They replaced her with a young, inexperienced secretary. = Ok

I think we can substitute yoghurt for sour cream.  = Ok

We want to switch our car for an SUV. = Ok

He swapped his netbook for a tablet. = Ok

If you mix the Nouns up, especially at the rush of speaking, you will make a mistake:

Where can I exchange baht for yen? = X

They replaced a young, inexperienced secretary with her. = X

I think we can substitute sour cream for yoghurt.  = X

We want to switch an SUV for our car. = X

He swapped a tablet for his netbook. = X

This is where our formulas come in handy*.

*handy = useful 

Exchange A for B

Replace A with B

Substitute B for A

Switch A for B

Swap A for B

Of course these are not the only ways in which we can use our target words. But, for easier learning and memorization, it’s better to concentrate and practice with our 5 formulas first. Until you get very familiar with them.

Hope You Learned Something!

Keep on learning !

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