Shelf vs Shelve

Type your word here

What’s the difference between them?



A shelf is a flat surface, usually fixed to a wall or other vertical surface, used to hold or display objects.


1. I placed my books on the shelf.

2. The top shelf was too high to reach.

3. I spent the day organizing the items on the shelf.



To put aside for the present or until a later time.


1. I need to shelve the books in alphabetical order.

2. Please shelve these items on the bottom shelf.

3. She decided to shelve the project until next year.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference




1. Bookcase

2. Rack

3. Ledge

4. Platform

5. Storage unit

1. Floor

2. Destroy

3. Disperse

4. Empty

5. Unstack


1. Store

2. Set aside

3. Archive

4. Stockpile

5. Put away

1. Unshelve

2. Discard

3. Abandon

4. Store away

5. Throw away

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Shelf", "Shelve".

1. The word 'shelf' is a noun that refers to a flat, usually rectangular surface that is used to store items in an organized manner.

2. 'Shelve' is a verb that means to put something on a shelf.

3. Mnemonic phrase: A shelf is where you shelve items.

4. When you are unsure which word to use, think about what you want to do with the item. If you want to store something, use the noun 'shelf'. If you want to put something on the shelf, use the verb 'shelve'.

Practice English with the Promova app and avoid misusing confusing words

Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the first word 'shelf' be used?

The word 'shelf' is typically used when referring to a flat surface used for storage of items. It can be a flat board, ledge, or piece of furniture with a flat top used to display or store items.

When is the appropriate context for using the second word 'shelve'?

The word 'shelve' is typically used in the context of storing items on a shelf. It can also be used when referring to the act of postponing or cancelling plans.

Do the two words 'shelf' and 'shelve' share the same pronunciation?

No, these two words do not share the same pronunciation. The word 'shelf' is pronounced as /ʃelf/, while 'shelve' is pronounced as /ʃelv/.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words 'shelf' and 'shelve'?

Some common mistakes people make when using these words include confusing the pronunciation of the two words, using 'shelf' when they should use 'shelve', and using 'shelve' when they should use 'shelf'.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. I was tasked with ___________ the books in the library.

2. The cookbooks were stored on a high ___________.

3. We had to ___________ the groceries in the pantry.

4. The picture frame was carefully ___________ on the mantel.

5. The dishes were neatly ___________ in the cupboard.

6. She had to ___________ her books on the desk.

1. Shelf

Explanation: Shelving the books is the best way to store them in the library, as it allows for easy access to the books and saves space.

2. Shelf

Explanation: By putting the cookbooks on a high shelf, they will stay out of reach of children and remain dust-free.

3. Shelve

Explanation: To put groceries in the pantry, they must be shelved, as this allows for easy access and keeps them organized for quick retrieval.

4. Shelved

Explanation: Shelving the picture frame is the best way to ensure it is securely placed and will not fall off the mantel.

5. Shelved

Explanation: Placing dishes into the cupboard and shelving them is the best way to ensure they are neatly stored and easily accessible.

6. Shelve

Explanation: To store her books on the desk, she should shelve them, as it is the best way to keep them neatly organized and easily accessible.

Get a gift by subscribing to our newsletter!

Download the PDF with a list of commonly confused words made as flashcards for comfortable learning.

List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.