Main Difference – Above vs Over
Both above and over function as adverbs and prepositions. These words have similar meanings and can sometimes be used interchangeably. Both mean that one thing is higher than something or someone else. However, there are some distinct differences between them as well. The main difference between above and over is that over implies location as well as the motion of an object whereas above only indicates the location.
Above – Meaning and Usage
Above is always used to things that are at an upper or higher level. It indicates the location of an object. We can surmise some general rules to understand the meaning and usage of this word better. Above can describe things in extended space over.
Space above this building has a strong gravitational field.
The roof above him started to collapse.
The show ended with a display of fireworks above the park.
Above is also used when there is no contact between the things referred to. For example, in the above example, there is no contact between the roof and the people below it.
Above is also used to indicate a higher level.
This house is 200m above sea level.
She lives in the cottage above the valley.
The flat above the restaurant is for sale.
Over – Meaning and Usage
Over also implies that that one thing is higher than something or someone else. However, there are some distinct differences in the usage of this preposition.
Over, unlike above, implies movement from one location or position to another. That is to say; it always indicates a path of motion.
We flew over the Indian Ocean.
He climbed over the fence.
I leaned over to talk to him.
We also use over when the object referred to in a sentence touch or cover the other. For example,
He threw a blanket over her.
Clark Kent wears ordinary clothes over his Superman costume.
She put her hand over my mouth to keep me quite.
Over is also used with numbers.
They have been together for over twenty years.
He gets over hundred fan mails every day.
People who weigh over 50kg can take part in this competition.
Difference Between Above and Over
Above only indicates the location.
Over indicates location as well as motion
Above does not imply movement from one location or position to another.
Over implies movement from one location or position to another.
Above is used when there is no contact between the two objects referred to in the sentence.
Over is used when there is contact between the two objects referred to in the sentence.
Above is not very much used with numbers.
Over is often used with numbers.
“Sunset above the clouds” By Bidgee – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
“K-16431 USS Yorktown F3F-3 fighters in flight” by USN – Official U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-K-16431, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia