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Which of the 2 is best?

He values her above all others.
He values her over all others.

I can't tell which sounds better and looking up in dictionaries amounted to nothing at least the ones I have looked at.

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    For what it's worth, Google Books claims 35 written instances of He values her above..., but only one instance of He values her over... It's just a stylistic choice, where any claimed distinction is just nit-picking for the sake of it, but obviously most writers make the same choice. Dec 13, 2016 at 19:47

2 Answers 2

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In that particular case (talking about a living creature) "above" would sound "warmer", though both are grammatically correct.

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  • This answer fits my sense. "Above all" is the more common -- books.google.com/ngrams/… -- and the more commonly used phrase in literary language (see Shakespeare) and religious language (e.g. the Bible) -- "over all" might be slightly more associated with a straight valuation vs. a romantic / philosophical / moral / spiritual statement in "above all." But both can be used for both.... Dec 13, 2016 at 18:08
  • Yes, "straight valuation" is the connotation I have for "over" as well. I tried to figure out how to express that, but couldn't come up with anything. I should have gone the other way: "above" is emotional, "over" is unemotional.
    – MMacD
    Dec 13, 2016 at 18:15
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In your examples

He values her above all others.

is the better choice. One way to tell, is to look at the opposite

He values her above all others.
He values her below all others.

He values her over all others.
He values her under all others.

The last sentence is not quite right.

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