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Language Refresher 78: Above vs Over

Cambridge Dictionary gave the following rules that will help us learn how to use “above” and “over” 

 

 

 


 

(a) When we use above as a preposition, it means ‘higher than’. Its meaning is close to that of the preposition over. In the following sentences, over can be used instead of above.

Ex. The waves came up above her head and she started screaming. (or … came up over her head …)

-We use above, but not over, to refer to things that are at an upper or higher level. 

Ex. Do they live in that chalet above the village? 

-We usually use above, but not over, when there is no contact between the things referred to. Over or on top of have a more general meaning, and can be used when one thing touches or covers another.

Ex. They made her comfortable and put a blanket over her. 


(b). We normally use over not above with numbers.

Ex. I get over sixty emails a day.

-When we talk about temperatures in relation to zero or (the) average, we use above not over. 

Ex: It was three degrees above zero.

-When we refer to temperatures in other contexts, we can normally use above or over. 

Ex. The temperature is already above 30 degrees. (or … over 30 degrees.)


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