To shift vs To change?

sambistapt

Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
Hello amigos!:)

What´s the difference between these two verbs, I´ve already looked it up in a diccionary however my doubt is far to be removed, I know the difference is subtle but I haven´t got it so far:(, Could anyone enlighten me on that? by setting a couple of examples?! I´d appreciate it:)

Thanks in advance;

Warm greetings from sunny Rio de Janeiro;

Sambista:cool:
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    "Shift" isn't often used as a synonym for "change". "Shift" is more often used under its meaning of transferring or moving something/someone from one place to another (ie. "I'm going to shift that flower vase from the right side of the desk to the left").

    I know that the dictionary indicates that "shift" means to "change" but it pretty much comes back to the movement definition... if I "shift alliances", I am moving (changing) my loyalties from one group to another.

    If I shift my computer monitor, I am moving it. I am also changing its position on my desk.
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Hello amigos!:)

    What´s the difference between these two verbs, I´ve already looked it up in a diccionary however my doubt is far to be removed, I know the difference is subtle but I haven´t got it so far:(, Could anyone enlighten me on that? by setting a couple of examples?! I´d appreciate it:)

    Thanks in advance;

    Warm greetings from sunny Rio de Janeiro;

    Sambista:cool:
    --You have changed! (meaning: "you are a different person now", and we don't say "you have shifted" here:eek::D)

    --We shifted our turn. (meaning: "we switched our turn", and we don't say "we changed our turn" here....the meaning would be different.....)

    Greetings from lovely nichec and her kitty:cool:
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I am going to change my shoes before I go out tonight. Definitely not shift.
    I'm on the night shift. Definitely not change.

    Your question is too vague for us to help you.
    There are many differences and many similarities. I picked extreme case.
    To help us to help you, you need to post examples of how you would use these words, and examples where you have difficulty deciding, so that we can comment.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    There's also a difference between AE and BE in the use of "shift." There are cases where BE uses "shift" and AE uses something else:

    BE: "I can't shift this piece of furniture. It's too heavy."
    AE: "I can't move/budge this piece of furniture. It's too heavy."
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Hi,

    Here is a rare case where these words are synonyms.

    The alien creature could shift/change shape at will. It could look like anyone or anything.
    Inspired by this great post......It suddenly occurs to me that "to shift" is a series of "change", it can even suggest the "back-and-forth changes", while "to change" is....well, you know......often used in situations that are not so concrete (as in "you have changed")
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    As others have suggested, shift is to change position: I shifted my weight from one foot to the other while waiting for the restroom. Why don't we shift the bed to the other side of the room.

    Change is to become or make something different: Uncle Ted has changed; he's not the cheerful uncle he used to be. You changed your cookie recipe. Where are the chocolate chips?
     

    agubons

    New Member
    Spanish - Argentina
    Hi, so is it logical to think that the use of "shift" is closer to toggle than to change. My doubt resides in this own lyric I'm dealing with:
    "Going inside to dismiss the mith,
    Toggling rails of fate as I read my shifting self"

    It hasn't completely revised yet. Thanks for the attention!!
     
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