This paper discusses some consequences of forming by shear, a situation that is sometimes claimed to occur in incremental forming. The determination of the principal strains and principal directions is discussed in detail. Two methods are presented: using a circular grid (although simulated on the computer), and by deriving formulae from the theory; both yield identical results. The strains assuming forming by shear are found to be (much) higher than in situations of forming by stretch. This affects notably more fundamental studies on material behaviour in incremental forming. The effects are illustrated using experimental data obtained with pre-stressed material.