swell to vs. increase to


Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
I think that "swell to" means becoming greater in numbers, but "increase to" also has the same connotation. I don't think I quite understand their differences.

Although this number proved to be high, at a time when other major world religions have stagnated, the LDS Church has done relatively well, swelling to 127 million members by 2006.
  • danielxu85

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    Thanks, elroy! Could I say "Recently, the stock index has swollen from 500 points to 1000 points, creating a new record."?


    USA English
    "Swell" can be used to create drama, because it is more often used when speaking about rivers or floodwaters or sex organs. "Increase" by contrast sounds plain and boring, because it is usually used to describe mere data. Using the word "swell" (or "swollen") calls to mind its other use, and lends a little adventure to an otherwise bland topic. Consider:

    "The stock market is expected to swell"
    (dramatic! "Swell" like a river, or a sex organ!)

    "The stock market is expected to increase"
    (boring! "Increase" like the price of apples or the state minimum wage.)
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