Change (something) over


Senior Member
Hi, today I'm in a bit of troubles with english prepositions.
More precisely, I need an explanation of the following:

"...he carried a stick in his right hand. As he approached, his face broke into a huge grin and, changing his stick over, he held out his right arm in welcome".

I've read the definition, but in this case it doesn't fit properly (change sth over sth), as in this case it is an intransitive pattern. What's the point behind " over"? Could it mean "he passed the stick to the other hand"?

Thank you
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Could it mean "he passed the stick to the other hand"?
    Yes, to change over (phrasal verb) [a position/responsibility/object, etc.] -> to reverse or alternate [a position/responsibility/object, etc.]

    A: "I am on duty for the first hour, and you are on duty for the second hour, when we change over, I will bring some food. - when we change over again, you can bring some beer."


    Senior Member
    English - England
    To change over is to swap (or swop)/exchange/change places.

    It’s use in your example is not typical. The context makes it perfectly clear that he swapped the stick from his right hand to his left in order to shake hands, but the way it’s expressed is a bit odd. I would not have written in like that.

    At first I drove and he navigated, but halfway there we changed over and he drove.
    The patterned cushions go on the patterned sofa and the plain ones on the plain sofa, but if you prefer, you can change them over.
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