Dive = submerge?


Senior Member
- Yesterday we dived into the sea to see the corals. It was a lot of fun.

- Are "dived into the sea to see the corals" and "we submerged into the sea to watch the corals" interchangeable in this context?

Thanks very much!

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    Senior Member
    American English
    I think of submarines submerging, or rocks and shipwrecks being submerged. Because people either free dive or scuba dive to get below the surface, I would suggest sticking with "dived" here. So, to answer your question, no... I don't believe they are interchangeable in normal speech, no matter what their dictionary definitions.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    Diving and dive can be strange to learners. People go diving, skin diving, SCUBA diving, free diving, etc. meaning they go beneath the surface. If you have the context, people will know what you mean.

    But, if you say "I dived into the sea," it implies that you leaped off a boat or rock or something.

    Generally speaking, diving means to spend relatively little time under the surface, while "submerge" implies something longer lasting.

    We also have the expression "Went under," meaning "under the surface."

    In the final analysis, however, the word you use is based upon context and you just have to learn what is natural for each condition. (submerged into sounds very strange to me in this context)

    What you're trying to say is that
    Yesterday we went diving to see the coral.
    In this sentence, the context makes it clear that you were swimming under water. If you said "we were diving yesterday," the listener/reader wouldn't know whether you were swimming under water or practicing triple gainers from the three-meter board at the public swimming pool.

    Both of your sentences are understandable, but neither is natural. In addition, note the difference between "see" and "watch." Generally speaking, "watch" involves observing movement. Although coral does grow, it's normally not perceptible motion.

    And, "coral" generally would be used in the singular unless it's plain that you're differentiating between types of coral.

    Unfortunately, these are the kinds of nuances that you won't pick up from a dictionary.
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