The effects of shear on double-diffusive fingering and on the settling-driven instability are assessed by means of a transient growth analysis. Employing Kelvin waves within a linearized framework allows for the consideration of time-dependent waveforms in uniform shear. In this way, the effects of boundaries and of shear-driven instability modes can be eliminated, so that the influence of shear on the double-diffusive and settling-driven instabilities can be analysed in isolation. Shear is seen to dampen both instabilities, which is consistent with previous findings by other authors. The shear damping is more pronounced for parameter values that produce larger unsheared growth. These trends can be explained in terms of instantaneous linear stability results for the unsheared case. For both double-diffusive and settling-driven instabilities, low Prandtl number ( $Pr$ ) values result in less damping and an increased importance of the Orr mechanism, for which a quantitative scaling law is obtained.