I'm very confused about which prepositions should be used in "in one swipe of a paintbrush." Why is "in" used here? And would it be okay using "by" or any other prepositions?
The preposition "in" is used here because it expresses that within the time duration it took for there to be only one swipe of a paintbrush, the name was erased from Woody's boot. However, there is no real rule for using prepositions and they are very idiomatic. "By" is not used here simply because it is uncommon and a native speaker will most likely use "in" because it sounds more natural. Many prepositions must be memorized since there is no definite rule.
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