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I saw a sentence that has the word shift. I am trying to understand the sentence but it has become hard to understand.

The sentence is

Over the past few years shifts in educational policies have affected society especially in developed nations.

I am not quite sure how the "shift" is used in this content. I can see it is used as a verb but why there is a proposition of "in"?

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The word is actually used as a noun here, not a verb.

As Maulik mentions, a "shift" is a change. While shift and change are very close in meaning, shift is a little more specific word than change, because it generally has the sense of changing or exchanging one thing for another. In your sentence, one set of policies is replaced by another.

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The word shift has several meanings but here, we can think of its general meaning of 'change' in something.

That said, over the past few years, the changes in educational policies have affected societies.

You can look up in any dictionary and find the word 'shift' meaning 'change'.

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