by turns kind and cruel


What is the nuance between "by turns kind and cruel" and "in turn kind and cruel"?

I am rather familiar with the begining of Stephen Hawking's The Grand Design. I remembered it as "in turn kind and cruel" and this printed version shows "by turns." Hence the thread.

WE EACH EXIST FOR BUT A SHORT TIME, and in that time explore but a small part of the whole universe. <....................> Living in this vast world that is by turns kind and cruel, and gazing at the immense heavens above, people have always asked a multitude of questions: How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? <.................>

Source: The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking
  • NewAmerica

    I knew.

    The question is the nuance between "by turns" and "in turn": Which is most correct?

    Is "by turns" in an unpredicatable order while "in turn" is in predicatable order?
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