When, how and where to use over and above
SEE ALSO: ‘Online’ and ‘on the line’ are unrelatedAs a conjunction (joining clauses or a clause and a time noun), ‘after’ refers to a time later than another event. For instance, “Two years after the office of the deputy governor of Nairobi fell vacant, the deputy governor’s office remains unoccupied”. In the sentence; “Raila Odinga arrived at the venue of the meeting at precisely noon and President Uhuru Kenyatta ten minutes after”, the word ‘after is used as an adverb (relationship in terms of place, time, circumstances). Higher level In the adjectival and adverbial forms, ‘later” is used to show a time in the future. For instance, “We can take a walk later”. Still in the adjectival sense, ‘later’ is used to denote ‘coming towards the end’. For example, “In his later years, 90-year old Davis has become arthritic”. ‘Later’ can also be used in place of ‘recent’. “The later (latest) model of Audi is quite superb”. The words ‘over’ and ‘above’ are prepositions that more often than not, mean the same thing. However, there are subtle differences that we should take note of. For instance, while ‘over’ denotes ‘suspended above or covering ’, the word ‘above’ refers to a higher level or pedestal. For instance, “Only an officer above the rank of Inspector can take charge of a regional police station”.
SEE ALSO: How to use ‘remain’ and ‘stay’ correctlyTo say “Only an officer over the rank of Inspector can take charge or a regional police station” is bad form. ‘Above’ refers to a position while ‘over’, a covering. “Above’ is more appropriate in usage when there is no contact between the things being referred to in a sentence. The following sentence will help us understand this better. “The little boy raised his hand above his head to try and reach the bulb hanging over his head”. When “over” is used, one of the things referred to can touch, or covers the other. Note that we cannot use the word ‘above’ in relation to numbers. For instance, you cannot say “Above 50 athletes participated in the race”. Grammatically, it should be, “Over 50 athletes participated in the race”. Additionally, ‘over’ can be used adverbially without the word coming after a noun as in, “She fell over and hurt her shoulder”. No doubt, you might have heard the oft used phrase ‘over and above’, or used it yourself. The phrase is detached from the explanations above and simply means “in addition to”. Mr Chagema is a copy editor at The Standard. [email protected]
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