Over and Above

    22 March, 2019

    Hi, everyone!

    I hope you like prepositions because I am going to talk about them again today.

    The question today comes from our reader Francesca in Rome, Italy. Here it is:


    Hello, thank you VOA. I have a problem using over and above. You will certainly help me. - Francesca, Rome


    Ciao, Francesca. I am happy to help!

    The words over and above can act as prepositions or adverbs, depending on how they are used.

    For today's program, I will focus on prepositions. Prepositions are words that show direction, position or time.

    Over and above both express that something is in a higher position than something else. And, sometimes, you can use either word.

    You can, for instance, say:

    The building is over a parking lot (or)

    The building is above a parking lot.

    They have the same meaning.

    But there are times when one word is more suitable than the other.

    Motion, movement

    For example, the word over suggests movement. Above does not.

    When the upper object moves across the lower object, use over, as in these examples:

    A plane just flew over city hall.

    We walked over the bridge.

    The two people are wearing raincoats over their clothes.
    The two people are wearing raincoats over their clothes.

    Covering, contact

    In addition, over suggests contact between two objects. Above does not.

    Use over when the higher object covers or is touching the lower object, as in these:

    Did you wear a raincoat over your clothes?

    Please put foil over the remaining food.

    Above is more common when there is no contact between the two objects, as in this:

    Many bird species fly above the clouds.

    Numbers and measures

    We also use over and above with measurements.

    Use over for such measures as height, age, speed and time, as in these:

    We have been waiting over an hour for a table.

    The game is for children over 10 years of age.

    Above is generally used in measures of temperature, as in this:

    It went above 90 degrees again yesterday.

    And that's Ask a Teacher.

    I'm Alice Bryant.

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    Now, you try it! For the sentences below, choose either over or above. Write your answers in the comments area. Note: Some sentences may have two possible answers.

    1. Can you please put a blanket ____ the baby?

    2. The weather has been _____ normal temperatures.

    3. My family has a small house _____ the lake.

    4. There is a reading light _____ the hotel bed.

    5. The quick brown fox jumped ____ the lazy dog.

    6. Last night, the event had ____ 200 people.


    Words in This Story

    certainly adv. without doubt

    adverb n. a word that is often used to show time, manner, place, or degree

    focus v. to direct your attention or effort at something specific

    verb n. a word that expresses an action, occurrence or state of being

    blanket n. a covering made of cloth that is used to keep you warm

    fox n. a small wild animal that is related to dogs