Swing/rock/sway

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kane159

Member
Czech
Hi,
what's the difference between these three, please? According to my dictionary, they describe moving from side to side.
Can I use them in the following sentence, please?

The trees were swinging/swaying/rocking in the wind.

Or is there any subtle difference between them? Please guide me.
Thank you in advance!
 
  • pops91710

    Senior Member
    English, AE
    Trees usually sway. Swinging implies something is suspended. Rocking means swaying but usually with the base or feet in motion from side to side or to and fro. Since trees are fixed they cannot rock. I am sure a good dictionary would give you a better description/definition than your dictionary does, or better than my explanation.
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Hi,
    what's the difference between these three, please? According to my dictionary, they describe moving from side to side.
    Can I use them in the following sentence, please?

    The trees were swinging/swaying/rocking in the wind.

    Or is there any subtle difference between them? Please guide me.
    Thank you in advance!
    I agree that 'swinging' definitely isn't appropriate for trees.
    'Swaying' is best. 'Rocking' (intransitive) describes the movement either of (i)people (especially the psychologically disturbed), or (ii)objects on rockers (i.e. curved pieces of wood underneath an object, allowing movement backwards and forwards, as with a rocking horse or rocking chair). You can rock (transitive) a baby, as long as it is in a cradle or other rockable holder.
     
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