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Hi English learners! Were you surprised when you found out that rivers don’t have coasts but banks? Well, that’s right. In today’s lesson, we will clear out the difference between beach, bank, coast, shore. 

Beach, bank, coast and shore all refer to the edge of the land by a body of water. But what is the difference between these words? Are they just synonymous or do they differ in meaning? Let’s find out!

BEACH

Beach is an area of sand and/or small stones near the lake or the sea. There are a few kinds of beaches such as sandy beaches, pebble beaches, rocky beaches, etc. A beach is a place where people like to rest, throw stones into the water, swim, play different kinds of sports such as beach netball, badminton, etc. It’s a place where you go for a walk, meditate, enjoy the fresh air.

  • When we were on holiday in Turkey, we visited some wild beaches. It was so exciting.
  • We rented a bungalow on a beautiful sandy beach last summer. We had a whale of a time!
  • Although it was cold and windy, she enjoyed walking along the beach.
  • We discovered a beautiful beach when we were looking for a vacation home. 

BANK

The word bank refers to the land along the sides of a river, creek, stream or lake. It is also known as a riverside or lakeshore. We can’t say that rivers have beaches, but they do have sand and stones at their banks, just like beaches;  people go to the river banks to relax, swim, go fishing, walk, etc. Throughout history, people have always tended to settle down by the river banks because they provide water, transport, operate a mill or even generate electricity.

  • Ed Staford walked along the Amazon riverbank while writing a blog about his adventure. It took him three years to do that.
  • When we were teenagers, we used to compete who can swim fastest to the other bank of the river.
  • Pat was standing at the river bank watching a boat going by.
  • While we were passing by, we saw a lady near the river bank fishing.

COAST

Coast is the land by the sea or the ocean. To be more precise, it is the place where land meets the sea. We should also mention the word coastline, which refers to a specific shape of the coast as seen on the maps or from above. Coasts are places where we can find beaches. When talking about coasts, we talk about tide, waves, cliffs, caves, etc.

  • The road followed the coast so we could enjoy the beautiful view of the sea and fresh air.
  • They moved to the west coast and now they live in Seattle.
  • The hotel is situated in the capital city on the southeast coast of Africa.
  • Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour.

SHORE

Shore is the area of land stretching along any large body of water such as sea, ocean, lake or a wide river, so it’s a bit broader term than the coast, though similar. We can talk about the shoreline and seashore, seaside and lakeside as synonymous words. 

Things can be onshore and offshore. Onshore is a place in the land, not in the sea; while offshore is on the island, or even in the sea, such as oil fields.

  • The shore was washed by the tide.
  • It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario.
  • The city became a centre of the area due to its location on the river and the lakeshore, as well as being connected to numerous canals and railroad lines.
  • They have been waiting for years, but no messages came from the far-away shore to which they had gone.
The difference between BEACH, BANK, COAST, SHORE
The difference between BEACH, BANK, COAST, SHORE

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