Use the word "shape" to describe the size, form, and condition of objects and people.

In these sentences and questions, "shape" is a noun:

  • The cake has an unusual shape. Instead of being round, it’s in the shape of a football.
  • This store sells clothes to women of all shapes and sizes.
  • William is really out of shape. He has to start exercising.
  • Do you feel like you’re in shape?
  • That restaurant is in bad shape. It will probably go out of business.
  • These pieces of candy are shaped like little bears. (This sentence uses "shape" as a verb in the passive voice.)

gummi bears Gummy Bears

When "shape" is used is a verb, it usually means to form or make:

  • The surface of the Earth was shaped by millions of years of natural activity.
  • Recent events in the middle east have shaped the government’s foreign policy.
  • This is shaping up to be a rainy day. (shape up = become)
  • He’d better shape up or he’ll be out of school. (shape up = improve one’s behavior)

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October 23, 2012