Posted in Academic Vocabulary of the Day by admin2


intransitive verb
definition:  to change position or direction, or to move from one place to another.
example:  Bored with the lecture, the students shifted restlessly in their seats.
example:  His family shifted from town to town during the Depression.
example:  The photographer asked her to shift a little to the left.
example:  Public opinion seems to be shifting on this issue.

transitive verb
definition:  to remove or abandon and replace with another; change.
example:  It’s not always easy to shift another person’s opinion.

See full entry

Collocations:    Words often used in combination with the verb shift


  • ~ to  (e.g, The wind shifted to the north;  Opinion shifted to the right)
  • ~ toward (e.g., The government shifted toward dictatorship;  The province is shifting toward solar power)

shift + ADVERB:     ~ constantly, ~ gradually, ~ dramatically, ~ suddenly, ~ radically, ~ abruptly, ~ subtly, ~ decisively, ~ rapidly, ~ effortlessly, ~ fundamentally, ~ continually, ~ away (e.g., The focus shifted away from local concerns to international events),  ~ upward, ~ downward, ~ northward, ~ eastward

NOUN + shift:    focus ~ (e.g., The focus shifted from exercise to eating healthier foods) , emphasis  ~ , wind  ~ , attention ~ ,  opinion ~ , balance ~ , paradigm ~ , burden ~ (e.g., The burden of his elderly father’s care shifted to him when his sister died) , phase ~


Collocations:    Words often used in combination with the transitive verb shift

shift + NOUN:    ~ attention (e.g., The teacher struggled to shift the attention of his students),  ~ focus,  ~ opinion, ~  blame (e.g., The sheriff  hoped to shift the blame to his deputy), ~ emphasis, ~ allegiance, ~ burden, ~ weight, ~ perception, ~ balance, ~ alliances, ~ boundary, ~ gaze



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