LS Refresher 78: Above vs. Over

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

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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.

Example: 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. 

Example: 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.

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

B. We normally use over not above with numbers.

Example: I get over sixty emails a day.

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

Example: It was three degrees above zero.

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

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

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