When I tell someone "Exchange A for B," I mean that they currently have A, and they should get rid of A and instead get B. In other words, replace A with B.
I frequently see people who use the same word order, but mean the exact opposite. By "Exchange A for B," they mean replace B with A.
For example, this post at Get Rich Slowly includes the sentence "An easier solution is to schedule a résumé update every few months and edit as you go, swapping more impressive accomplishments for résumé filler." Clearly, they mean "replace filler with accomplishments." But I have trouble understanding it that way
Using "Exchange A for B" to mean "replace B with A" only works if you think it means "[Receive] A [In Exchange] for [Giving] B."
That seems a terribly circuitous and backwards construction to me. When I think of an exchange, I think of first giving someone an item, then receiving another item from them. Since giving comes first in the sequence, and A comes first in the sentence, I naturally think of giving A and receiving B.
But really, it's no less logical to think of an exchange as first receiving an item from someone, then giving them another item. Since receiving comes first in that sequence, you'd naturally think of receiving A and giving B. But for some reason, thinking of an exchange that way feels backwards and unnatural to me.
I wonder why.