On vs. Over

Have you ever wondered where to use 'on' and where to use 'over?' In this lesson, we will learn when to use each of them.

"On" vs. "Over" in the English grammar

What Is Their Main Difference?

The main difference between 'on' and 'over' in their what they show. 'On' is used when there is any type of contact while, 'over' is used when something is on top but there is no contact.


We use 'on' when there is 'something is at a higher level and in physical contact with another object.' 'On' is used any time there is contact between two objects. Have a look:

The jar was left on the table.

She prefers sitting on the ground.


'Over' is used when we want to show that something is at a direct vertical position from another object. It is used only when there is no contact between two objects and they are only on top of each other with a distance. For example:

He held the umbrella over my head.

The sign over the door said 'do not enter.'


'Above' is another preposition like 'on' and 'over.' 'Above' and 'over' are commonly misused as they are very close in what they show. 'Over' shows that something is directly in an elevated position than another object and there is no contact. 'Above' also shows that something is located in a vertical position than another object. The difference is that it is not direct and it is in an extended space.

The plane is flying above us.

Here, we know the plane is in the sky but it is not directly on a higher level than us.

The plane is flying over us.

Here, the plane is directly at a higher location than us.


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