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Using the Shape Builder tool it combines shapes if you press shift, but it deletes shapes if you press Alt.
Is there any secuence or reasoning on how a tool is going to behave giving the options of CTRL, SHIFT, and ALT?
Shift usually makes somewhat even shapes or adds selections.
Alt toggles alternative behaviours of tools.
Ctrl on Windows (Cmd on Mac) switches to a selection tool as long as you hold that key.
Cmd on Mac opens the contextual menu