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Shut vs. Close: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 2, 2023
"Shut" often implies a firmer action of closing, while "close" is more general and can imply proximity or ending something.

Key Differences

"Shut" is typically used to refer to closing something firmly or securely, like doors or windows. It often carries a sense of finality or completeness. "Close," on the other hand, is more versatile, used not only for the act of making something not open but also for describing proximity or the end of an event or period.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023
The word "shut" is commonly associated with a more forceful action. For example, "shutting a drawer" implies a certain level of force or decisiveness. "Close," however, can be used in a wider range of contexts, like "closing a deal" or "closing the gap," which go beyond the physical act of shutting.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023
In terms of connotation, "shut" can sometimes have a negative or abrupt implication, as in "shut down" or "shut out," suggesting exclusion or cessation. "Close," however, can convey a sense of completion or resolution, as in "close a chapter" or "close an argument," and is often used in more formal or professional contexts.
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023
"Shut" is less likely to be used in abstract contexts. It is more concrete, relating primarily to physical actions. "Close," however, has a broader application, encompassing both physical and metaphorical uses, such as "close to the truth" or "close an account," which are not about physical closure.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023
The usage of "shut" and "close" can also differ in idiomatic expressions. "Shut" forms part of phrases like "shut up" or "shut off," which have specific meanings. "Close" is used in phrases like "close call" or "close quarters," which are more metaphorical and less about the literal action of closing.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Physical closing
Physical and metaphorical closing
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Connotation

Often forceful or final
More neutral, can imply completion
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Contexts

Mostly physical actions
Wide range, including abstract concepts
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Idiomatic Usage

Specific phrases like "shut down"
Broader phrases like "close call"
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Formality

Generally less formal
Used in both formal and informal contexts
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023
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Shut and Close Definitions

Shut

Shut refers to closing something firmly.
Please shut the door quietly.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Close

Close implies completing an action or agreement.
He was close to finalizing the deal.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Shut

Shut often means ending or stopping something.
The company decided to shut the project down.
Huma Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Close

Close can refer to reducing the distance or gap.
She moved closer to hear better.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Shut

Shut implies sealing or securing an opening.
She shut the window to keep out the cold.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Close

Close means to bring something to an end.
They decided to close the meeting early.
Huma Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Shut

Shut is used in expressions that imply closure.
He told the noisy crowd to shut up.
Janet White
Nov 21, 2023

Close

Close is used for bringing parts together.
Close the book when you're finished reading.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 21, 2023

Shut

Shut can mean preventing access or passage.
The road was shut due to construction.
Harlon Moss
Nov 21, 2023

Close

Close can indicate proximity or nearness.
Her house is close to the school.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 21, 2023

Shut

To move (a door or lid, for example) so as to block passage through an opening.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Close

Being near in space or time. See Usage Note at redundancy.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Shut

To fasten with a lock, catch, or latch
Shut the cabinet.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Close

Being near in relationship
Close relatives.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

Shut

To block entrance to or exit from; close
Shut a corridor.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 19, 2023

FAQs

Can "shut" imply forcefulness?

Yes, it can suggest closing something with force, e.g., "shut the door loudly."
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Is "shut" formal or informal?

It's neutral, suitable for both formal and informal contexts.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Can "shut" be used as an adjective?

Yes, e.g., "The door is shut."
Huma Saeed
Dec 02, 2023

Is "shut" transitive or intransitive?

It can be both, e.g., "She shut the door" (transitive) and "The door shut" (intransitive).
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Is "close" formal or informal?

It's neutral and used in both contexts.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

What does "shut" mean?

Shut means to close something, typically a door or window.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

What does "close" mean?

Close means to bring something together or to stop an opening.
Harlon Moss
Dec 02, 2023

Can "close" be an adjective?

Yes, but with different meanings, e.g., "a close friend."
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Can "shut" be used metaphorically?

Yes, e.g., "shut your mouth" means to stop talking.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Is "close" transitive or intransitive?

It's both, e.g., "He closed the book" (transitive) and "The store closes at 8" (intransitive).
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

What are other uses of "close"?

It can mean to conclude an event or activity, e.g., "close a meeting."
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Does "close" have a sense of proximity?

As an adjective, yes, e.g., "close to the mark."
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Is "shut" used in idioms?

Yes, e.g., "shut the front door" as an expression of disbelief.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Can "shut" imply finality?

Yes, it often suggests a definitive or firm closing.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

Does "close" imply gentleness?

It can, often suggesting a softer action compared to "shut."
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Does "shut" have other meanings?

Yes, it can mean to stop a business or activity, e.g., "The shop shut down."
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

What is a common synonym for "shut"?

"Close" is a common synonym.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 02, 2023

Can "close" be used metaphorically?

Yes, e.g., "close a chapter in life" meaning to end a phase.
Janet White
Dec 02, 2023

Are there idioms with "close"?

Yes, e.g., "close call" meaning a narrow escape.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023

What is a nuanced difference between "close" and "shut"?

"Close" is often softer or more general, while "shut" can imply more force or finality.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 02, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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