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A shore or a shoreline is the fringe of land at the edge of a large body of water , such as an ocean , sea , or lake . In physical oceanography, a shore is the wider fringe that is geologically modified by the action of the body of water past and present, while the beach is at the edge of the shore, representing the intertidal zone where there is one. In contrast to a coast , a shore can border any body of water , while the coast must border an ocean ; in that sense a coast is a type of shore; however, coast often refers to an area far wider than the shore, often stretching miles into the interior. Shores are influenced by the topography of the surrounding landscape , as well as by water induced erosion, such as waves. The geological composition of rock and soil dictates the type of shore which is created.