Difference between Above and Over

Key difference: Both, above and over, are prepositions used in the context of something to be placed at a higher position than something else. The key difference is to know, when and how they should be used.

Above and Over are two words used in the English language and they are often confused in terms of their usage. Both the words are used in the sense of ‘higher than’. This article helps differentiate between the two prepositions.

According to Dictionary.com, Above is defined as:

  • In, at, or to a higher place
  • Overhead, upstairs, or in the sky
  • Higher in rank, authority, or power
  • Higher in quantity or number

All the given definitions help us determine in what terms or with reference to the preposition ‘above’ should be associated in its meaning. It refers to vertical (physical or figurative) superiority.  It can be more easily explained by examples:

  • One hundred is above ninety one.
  • The tree is 6 meters above the ground.

In the first sentence, ‘above’ is used in the terms of ‘numbers’. In the second sentence, ‘above’ is used in the terms of ‘height’ by scale.

According to Dictionary.com, Over is defined as:

  • Directly above; on the top of; via the top or upper surface of
  • On or to the other side of
  • During; through, or throughout
  • In or throughout all parts of
  • More than

All the given definitions help us determine in what terms or with reference to the preposition ‘over’ should be associated with. It simply indicates superiority or transcendence. It can either be vertical or it just implies some sort of movement. Taking a few examples:

  • She was crossing over the bridge.
  • The umbrella is over her head.

In the first sentence, ‘over; is used in terms of ‘crossing’, implying movement. In the second sentence, ‘over’ is used in terms of ‘covering’.

The main difference between over and above is the context in which they are used. The term 'over' indicates movement and a line of sight, whereas 'above' indicates that something is physically higher than something else. Foe example, 'a plane flew over a city' and 'a plane is above a city' have two different implications. 'A plane flew over a city' indicates that the plane flew from one side of the city to the other but in the air, i.e. above the city, which indicates that the plane was literally in the air higher than the city.

Comparison between Above and Over:





It is defined as in, at or to a higher place.

It is defined as on or directly above of.


Vertical superiority

Simply superiority


It implies the height distance.

It implies movement.

Example The plane is above the clouds. The plane was flying over the building.

Image Courtesy: igoo.co.uk, school.discoveryeducation.com

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A very good sight.I will not make a mistake in my exam next time!Thanks.:-) :-) :-) :-D

I think I got the essence! Thank you!


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