Difference between Over and Above | Over vs Above

‘Over’ and ‘above’ are two prepositions that confuse many English language learners as they have similar meanings, but can these two prepositions be used interchangeably? Read the article to learn the differences in meaning and usage of ‘over’ and ‘above’.

Table of Contents

Table Summarising the Difference between Over and Above

  • The word ‘over’ is used to refer to something that is found/placed at a higher level than the other, with no point of contact between the two.
  • It also refers to something being placed on the surface of something else, covering partially or fully.
  • Other meanings include something situated across something; the far end or the other side; to cross so as to get to the other side.
The term ‘above’ also has multiple meanings.

  • It refers to being at a higher position than someone else.
  • It also means at a higher cost, greater quality/importance, greater in level, age and number than somebody or something.


Usage It is used as a preposition and an adverb. It is used as a preposition and an adverb.
  • The dog jumped over the wall.
  • We put a plastic sheet over the nest.
  • There is a crack above our front door.
  • The water is dripping from above.

Difference between Over and Above – Meaning and Usage

Though the primary meaning of both ‘over’ and ‘above’ is ‘at an elevated position’, there is a line of difference and understanding those differences will help you use the two words flawlessly. As discussed already, both words can function as prepositions and adverbs, the usage and meaning of which change accordingly. When used as a preposition, the word ‘over’ means at a higher level, and the word ‘above’ means ‘at a higher position’. When used as an adverb, the word ‘over’ can be used immediately after the verb to mean ‘to go to the other side’. It can also be used with verbs to form phrasal verbs such as pull over, turn over, come over, hand over, knock over and run over. The word ‘above’, on the other hand, is not used to form many phrasal verbs. ‘Rise above’ is the most common phrasal verb formed using ‘above’.

Take a look at the following section to learn how the two words are used in sentences.

Examples of Over and Above

  • The cat jumped over the high fence to catch the mouse.
  • There were over a thousand people in the tournament.
  • The days of the tyrannical rule of Hitler were over.
  • The bus suddenly pulled over at the end of the cliff.
  • The Sun is shining brightly above our heads.
  • The roof above is covered with cobwebs.
  • Sandhya rose above every difficulty and achieved her goal.



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