What's the difference between the two? Example:

She cast a strange, yet beautiful spell on people.

She cast a strange, yet beautiful spell over people.

  • 3
    Purely as a matter of style, over works better in your exact context, simply because it's coupled with the verb cast. But if you'd used a different verb (without the metaphoric cast = throw, fling, lob, toss, chuck associations), that wouldn't apply. Idiomatically, it's always I'll put a spell on you, never I'll put a spell over you. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 17 '17 at 17:22
  • @FumbleFingers because cast over is more common than cast on? – alex May 17 '17 at 17:23
  • Pretty much, yeah. Consider cast a pall on/over, and compare it to put a damper on (where, again, over never occurs). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 17 '17 at 17:30
  • ...more dated (bordering on archaic), there's Cast your bread upon the waters. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 17 '17 at 17:32

Over can imply that people refers to a vast crowd of people and that the spell is cast upon all them as a whole. This further makes the sentence possibly imply that you mean something like where a speaker "casts a spell over" his/her audience.

On would tend to imply that the effect is more about "any person" or individual people.

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