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Shade & Shadow

I’m puzzled recently by the words ‘shade’ and ‘shadow’. I know the word ‘shade’ can mean the darkness created by leaves. But besides this what other differences between the two words. Waiting for your help, thanks a lot.

  • December 23, 2004
  • Posted by tealee2
  • Filed in Usage

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Dear Tealee
I understand your confusion between these two words as the difference is slight and suble.
I understand "shade" to denote a soft area out of the sun, a place to rest and cool down whereas "shadow" is the sharply defined area blocked out by a clearly observed object.
I lay down on the grass in the shade of the oak tree but I was frightened by his shadow looming up behind me.
Incidentally, in Spanish (I live in Mexico) they only have one word for Shade and Shadow----sombra.
Merry Christmas to you

robinbather December 25, 2004, 4:34pm

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Good question. Here's my take on it.

I think shade is the effect caused by a shadow. The shadow of the tree is a dark image projected on the ground where the tree blocks the sunlight. The shade of a tree is the darkness caused by the shadow of the tree.

joachim December 27, 2004, 2:25pm

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Shade can also be used to mean a ghost (who does not cast a shadow). Maybe you were reading something using that meaning.

Ruth Ebeling January 3, 2005, 1:57pm

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Shade has lots of meanings. As a verb-- when drawing a picture, you can shade one part to make it darker.

A shade filters light, similar to a curtain or a screen. Similar to lampshade or the slang "shades" to mean sunglasses.

It can mean a little bit or a fraction, an incremental adjustment, as in "a shade higher".

Shadow can't be used this way, but can be used to show it's just a fraction, sliver or shadow of what he once was.

Shadow can be used to mean to follow. The detective shadowed the suspect to see what he was up to.

And there are probably more!

Lori January 17, 2005, 4:04pm

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What is the difference between SHADOW and SHADE in urban design or architecture?

azzin_83 February 27, 2008, 5:00am

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i need some more information please send me

mratyunjay.sharma March 24, 2009, 8:43am

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pls i will need u to send to me the 4 difference between shade and shadow,so i will be able to know all what it is about.


kingchris2007 April 10, 2009, 12:04pm

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mostly shadow is used for objects which can move and shade is for stationary objects .. this is the basic difference i think ....

chandu1729 July 28, 2010, 2:11am

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In architecture, shadow is the shape cast by the object. Like when you see the shape of a tree or building on the ground. Shade is the darker part of the actual object that does not get sunlight.

suneshine January 19, 2011, 4:41am

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Yes     No