It seems that both overlap and overlapping can be used as nouns. What are their differences then? Can they be both used as countable nouns with the same meaning? Thanks!

  • Use overlap when you are talking about the resultant condition, use overlapping when you are talking about the action.
    – Jim
    Mar 6, 2014 at 5:45

2 Answers 2


True, overlap and overlapping both can be used as nouns. The difference is clear...

overlap (n): flap that lies over another part AS IN The overlap of the shingles should be at least ten inches.

overlapping (n): covering with a design in which one element covers a part of another AS IN Do the job carefully. The overlapping should be perfect or else it won't look symmetrical.

Please note that overlapping as a noun is very rare.



Overlap - noun
Overlapping - Adjective, used as a noun very rarely (hey there is an exception to everything)

That is the difference between Overlap and Overlapping.

I think by now you know what overlap and overlapping mean so I am not gonna discuss about their respective meanings.

Overlap can be used as both a countable noun and an uncountable noun. I found the following examples "Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary" and I think they are very simple but good examples, as follows


Uncountable: There is (a) considerable overlap between the two subjects.
Countable : an overlap of 5 cm on each roof tile

Well overlap can be used as a countable noun. In the case of overlapping, its usage as a noun is very rare, that being the case, using it as a countable noun, well I am not very sure if it is possible, but I will go ahead and say no.

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