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Shear and Sheer

Commonly Confused Words


Shear and Sheer

The verb shear means to cut or clip. As a noun, shear refers to the act, process, or fact of cutting or clipping.

The adjective sheer means fine, transparent, or complete. As an adverb, sheer means completely or altogether.


  • Few people these days know the proper way to shear a sheep.

  • Jerry wore a sheer linen shirt with frilly lace cuffs.

  • "English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education--sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street." (E.B. White)


(a) “From the first day to this, _____ greed has been the driving spirit of civilization.” (Friedrich Engels)

(b) Giving children vitamin D supplements may _____ their risk of developing diabetes later in life.

Answers to Practice Exercises

Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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