What is the difference between above and over? Both over and above mean ‘higher than’ and in many cases are interchangeable:
- She was sitting and watching the clouds above/over her head go by.
- There was a beautiful rainbow above/over the horizon.
When to Use “Over” and “Above”
The main difference between them is the context, e.g. over indicates movement, while above refers to a location. We use over, but not above, to imply movement from one location to another:
- Jane was going over the street.
- If you want a beer, you should go to the pub over there.
On the other hand, we use above, but not over, to imply the location:
- The book was on the shelf above the desk.
- She put her handbag in the locker above her head.
We use over, but nor above, when there is contact between the things:
- She put a blanket over her to get warmer (not
She put a blanket above her to get warmer)
Difference between “Above” and “Over”
We use above, but not over, when something is higher than something else, without touching:
- The bird was singing above her head. (not
The bird was singing over her head)
We usually use over, not above, with numbers:
- There were over a thousand people at the demonstrations. (not
There were above a thousand people at the demonstrations)
- Over 300 people died in the devastating earthquake (not
above 300 people died in the devastating earthquake)
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