Above or over?

Easily confused words: Above or over?

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:

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

She is a nervous flier. But once the plane got above the clouds, she started to relax. (or … got over the clouds …)

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

[a ‘chalet’ is a small wooden building usually found in mountainous areas]

Do they live in that chalet above the village?

Not: Do they live in that chalet over 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:

They made her comfortable and put a blanket over her.

Not: They made her comfortable and put a blanket above her.

We normally use over not above with numbers:

I get over sixty emails a day.

Not: I get above sixty emails a day.

If you weigh over 100 kilograms, then you may need to start a diet.

Not: If you weigh above 100 kilograms


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

It was three degrees above zero.

Not: It was three degrees over zero.

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

The temperature is already above 30 degrees. (or … over30 degrees.)

Typical errors

  • We don’t use over to mean ‘higher level’.

Most of the race is 500 metres above sea level.

Not: Most of the race is 500 over sea level.

  • We don’t use above when one thing touches or covers another.

Pour some cream over the tart and serve it warm.

Not: Pour some cream above the tart

  • We don’t use above with numbers.

Over 100 people complained about the programme.

Not: Above 100 people complained


Posts recentes

  • Gramática
  • Inglês

Raise x Rise

Both raise and rise refer to something going up, but there is a difference: Raise Raise needs a direct object -… Read More

26 de fevereiro de 2020
  • Inglês
  • Quiz

The TOEFL® Test

About the TOEFL iBT® Test The TOEFL iBT® test measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. And it evaluates… Read More

5 de agosto de 2019
  • Download
  • Inglês

Download PDF: TOEFL iBT® Test Questions

View a free set of TOEFL iBT® questions used in previous tests, so you can become familiar with the types… Read More

4 de agosto de 2019
  • Inglês
  • Vocabulário


DIY é a abreviação de "do it yourself" - faça você mesmo. Read More

19 de dezembro de 2018
  • Inglês

Dessert x Desert

Muitas pessoas se confundem com as palavras desert (deserto) e dessert (sobremesa). Read More

28 de setembro de 2018
  • Inglês

Usando “have (to)”, “have got (to)” e “gotta”

“Have” e “have got” são, na verdade, sinônimos em alguns usos, mas nem sempre podem ser usados de forma intercalada.… Read More

3 de julho de 2018