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shadow or shade

Shadow or shade?

Which word should be used?

A shadow [countable] is a dark shape made on a surface by somebody or something that blocks the sun or a light.
Shade [uncountable] is an area where the sun does not reach. It is dark and cool under or behind something, e.g. a tree, a building or a wall.

Honestly, the definitions don't help much, so the best idea is to look at the example sentences:

The children are having fun, chasing each other's
shadows.
Mark followed his brother around all day like a
shadow.
The ship cast a
shadow on the water.
You can see your own
shadow on a sunny day.

The temperature can reach 35°C in the
shade.
We sat in the
shade and ate our lunch.
This plant grows well in
shade.
The trees provide
shade for the animals in the summer.

Some dictionaries for learners of English say that you should use:

in the shadow of something, e.g. She stood outside in the shadow of a large tree.

However, it's relatively easy to find dictionaries which say that you should use:

in the shade of something, e.g. They were sitting in the shade of a large tree.

The general conclusion is that you can use both phrases and neither of them is "more correct". But remember that "
in the shadow of" or "under the shadow of" is preferred when it means "very close to".

Additonal examples:

I could see my mother sitting
in the shade of the wall.
I was waiting for her
in the shade of an oak.
Our group took shelter from the midday heat in
the shade of a giant rock.

The cottage sits
in the shadow of the lighthouse.
It was very hot, so I decided to walk
in the shadow of the buildings.
It is a small town located
in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.
They live in a nice old house
under the shadow of the cathedral.

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