Accessibility links

Breaking News

The Grammar of ‘Share:’ Social, Economic Uses

Everyday Grammar
Everyday Grammar
 The Grammar of ‘Share:’ Social, Economic Uses
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:05:29 0:00

Consider a time when you heard or read news about business, investments, or politics.

Now consider a happy time when you gathered with friends or family. You ate food, had something to drink, and perhaps smiled and laughed.

What word might appear often in discussions about our two situations – the news and the family meal?

The answer is one word that comes in a verb or noun form: share.

Share will be the subject of today’s Everyday Grammar. You will learn about the word’s meanings as well as commonly used structures in everyday situations.

Let’s start with some definitions.


As we said before, the word “share” has both a noun and verb form.

We can compare it to a superhero. Consider Peter Parker. He is a normal young man. But sometimes he becomes Spiderman - and Spiderman is all about action!

Just as Peter Parker has a normal side and an active side, the word "share" has a noun form and an active verb form.

Noun form

Let's start with the noun form.

When you read business or even political news, you are highly likely to see the noun form.

Share suggests the idea of division or splitting something.

So, a share can involve value, interest or ownership that has been divided into parts.

For example, a person might buy stock shares in a company. This means that a person is buying partial ownership of a business.

Any time you read news about the stock market, for example, the value of the shares of businesses is a central point of interest.

Now consider a story about a political dispute. A scandal might happen, and one politician might be forced to accept his or her share of the blame for something that went wrong. In this usage, the politician is getting an amount of something - blame - that he or she deserves or is responsible for.

You might use the noun form of "share" when you talk about gatherings with family and friends. For example, friends might get together and decide to pay their share of the bill for a meal at a restaurant.

In this case, the friends might divide the bill and pay what they owe individually.

Verb form

What about the verb form of share, you might ask?

We often use it to talk about politics.

Political parties might share power in a country, for example.

We also might use the verb “share” to describe social gatherings.

Family or friends might share food. In this case, the family or friends are coming together and dividing or splitting food among themselves. Everyone gets to eat and drink.

Common structures

Now we can ask the question: What are the most commonly used structures with both the noun and verb forms of share?

The most common words that come before "share" are "to" and "a." That is what Google's Ngram Viewer tells us. It is a database that contains information from thousands of books.

But Ngram Viewer also gives us an important finding: "to share" is far more common than "a share."

So, we are very likely to read a sentence like this:

The two sides agreed to share power.


The children decided to share the toys.

We are somewhat less likely to read a sentence like this:

He bought a share of Microsoft stock.

What words are likely to come after "share?"

The two most common structures, Google's Ngram Viewer tells us, are "share of" and "share the."

So, think back to our earlier examples:

He bought a share of Microsoft stock.

The children decided to share the toys.


Let’s end this lesson with a quiz. Fill in the blank with the correct word or words.

The countries agreed ___________ the profits made from the shipping canal.

Here is one possible answer:

The countries agreed to share the profits made from the shipping canal.

I’m John Russell.

John Russell wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

stock – n. a share of the value of a company which can be bought, sold, or traded as an investment

scandal – n. an occurrence in which people are shocked and upset because of behavior that is morally or legally wrong