swap the phone number

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Rover_KE

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You can be completely sure—you guessed right.

Note that your thread title is different from your quoted sentence, and they are both different from the example in the dictionary.

There is no excuse for such carelessness.
 

andrewg927

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"The phone numbers" could be understood as any phone numbers that they know. "Our phone numbers" would be more likely their personal phone numbers.
 

Skrej

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If it is their own phone numbers, it's natural to simply drop the pronoun altogether. "We swapped (phone) numbers." Even the word 'phone' is fairly optional, as it's understood.
 

hhtt21

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"The phone numbers" could be understood as any phone numbers that they know. "Our phone numbers" would be more likely their personal phone numbers.

But nobody would swap others' phone numbers, isn't it?

P.S: I know isn't it is not correct, but I cannot form the correct one.

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GoesStation

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But nobody would swap others' phone numbers, [strike]isn't it[/strike] would they?

P.S: I know isn't it is not correct, but I cannot form the correct [strike]one[/strike] question tag.
It's not likely but it's possible. The presence of the article in We swapped the phone numbers makes the listener think "Which numbers?" It could mean that you had two cell ("mobile" in BrE) phones and swapped their phone numbers, for example.
 

hhtt21

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You can be completely sure—you guessed right.

Note that your thread title is different from your quoted sentence, and they are both different from the example in the dictionary.

There is no excuse for such carelessness.

Yes, I put "the" in front of "phone numbers", does it matter?

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hhtt21

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It's not likely but it's possible. The presence of the article in We swapped the phone numbers makes the listener think "Which numbers?" It could mean that you had two cell ("mobile" in BrE) phones and swapped their phone numbers, for example.

What is the counter of presence here? Is it lack of?

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andrewg927

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hhtt21

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It's not likely but it's possible. The presence of the article in We swapped the phone numbers makes the listener think "Which numbers?" It could mean that you had two cell ("mobile" in BrE) phones and swapped their phone numbers, for example.

But why does lack of the article in We swapped phone numbers not make the listener think "Which numbers"?

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hhtt21

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Do you mean the opposite of "presence"? That would be ​absence.

But are lack of and absence very different for this context?

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GoesStation

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The presence of the article in We swapped the phone numbers makes the listener think "Which numbers?"

But why does lack of the article in We swapped phone numbers not make the listener think "Which numbers"?
Because the definite article points at the item, so to speak. It means that we're talking about some specific, previously-mentioned phone numbers. If no numbers have been mentioned, the reader wonders which ones we're talking about. Omitting the article means we're talking about phone numbers in general, most likely the speaker's and that of the person they're talking about.
 

GoesStation

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Tdol

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Exchanged phone numbers works better for me.
 

hhtt21

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Exchanged phone numbers works better for me.

What do you think about "We switched phone numbers."

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Rover_KE

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That means we actually changed our phone numbers — not just informed each other of our own numbers.
 
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hhtt21

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That means we actually changed our phone numbers — not just informed each other of our own numbers.

Is this completely different? In this this case, does one person's number belongs to another so that both have different phone numbers?

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GoesStation

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What do you think about "We switched phone numbers."
This means that I assigned your old phone number to my phone and you assigned your old phone number to my phone. This is obviously a highly unlikely situation.
That means we actually changed our phone numbers — not just informed each other of our own numbers.

Is this completely different? In this this case, does one person's number belongs to another so that both have different phone numbers?
I don't understand your question, but see above for what the sentence means.
 
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