Monday, May 6, 2013

More than vs. over

My wife Holly, a former newspaper copy editor, says she "cringes" when people use "over" when "more than" is correct.

"I was taught that over was for physical things like, 'I stepped over the snake,' " she said. " 'There were more than a dozen on the ground.' "

I agree, but it wasn't always so. Nearly 30 years ago, my boss and friend Pete and I were editing a story. The writer said that a runner had gained "over 1,000 yards" on the football field, and Pete almost went ballistic.

"The cow jumped OVER the moon; the runner gained MORE than 1,000 yards," he exclaimed. Others in the newsroom looked at Pete like he was crazy. Crazed, maybe. Words meant a lot to him.

Same with me. Same with Holly.

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