Shade/Shadow

What’s the difference between shade and shadow?

Many languages have only one word for shade and shadow, which is why the two English words are so often confused. Their meanings are in fact very similar, but they are not interchangeable. Keep reading to learn how to use shade and shadow correctly. Once you have read the examples, test out your knowledge in the free exercises.

Example

It’s hot today. They say the temperature will reach 35 degrees in the shade!

On days like this, the best thing to do is find a cool place in the shade to relax.

As the sun goes down you can watch the shadows change shape.

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Shade

  • Shade is protection from the sun. It is darkness caused when something blocks sunlight. Shade is uncountable.
Example:
They say the temperature will reach 35 degrees in the shade.
  • We can use shade as a verb to say that something is blocking the sun.
Example:
The huge beach umbrella shaded us nicely.

Shadow

  • A shadow is a shape of darkness created when something blocks light. It is a like a picture. Shadow is countable; we can talk about two or more shadows.
Example:
As the sun goes down you can watch the shadows change shape.
  • We use the expression cast a shadow to say what is blocking the light.
Example:
The long grass cast a pretty shadow on the garden path.