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.