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.
Tom put his bag in the locker above/over his head.

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.

On the other hand, we use above, but not over, to imply the location:
The book was on the shelf above the desk.

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)

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)

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