The verb "shrink" is used when something gets smaller. It’s an irregular verb:
shrunk or shrunken*
I put my sweater in the dryer and it shrank.
The money in our bank account is shrinking.
Bill’s waistline has been shrinking since he went on a diet.
The number of students remaining in this class has shrunk since the beginning of the semester.
The number of shopping days left until Christmas is shrinking quickly.
The commute to downtown Minneapolis shrank after the highway construction project was completed.
You should never shrink from your responsibilities. (In this sentence, "shrink" means to withdraw or remove oneself.)
It will be impossible for him to wear this shrunken t-shirt. (The word "shrunken" is an adjective in this sentence.)
When the word "shrink" is used as a noun, it’s slang for psychiatrist.
Tom is seeing a shrink. (He’s meeting with a pyschiatrist.)
It’s not unusual for wealthy, famous people to regularly visit a shrink.
The "shr" sound is difficult for some students. For more practice with this sound, click here.
*Notice that there are two choices for the past participle. The verb "shrink" is one of those strange verbs that has a few different possibilities for the past participle. They both sound okay, but I prefer "shrunken" when it’s used as an adjective.
This page was first published on December 11, 2011.