The airport was right over on the far side of town. (Source)

Near the woods over on Campbellton Road, they found it.

What does "over" mean in these sentences? I think if I omitted "over" here, meanings wouldn't change.

1a- The airport was on the far side of town

2a- Near the woods on Campbellton Road

  • It's the same over as in over there; does that phrase also bother you? Aug 20 '19 at 0:18
  • That is okay. I just want to make sure if the "over" gives more detail on the location Aug 20 '19 at 0:28

You are correct that the meaning in your example sentences wouldn't change if you left out the word "over". From an informational/geographical perspective, "over" doesn't contribute anything.

But from a communication perspective it serves at least 2 purposes:

1) It makes the sentence slightly informal and a little bit friendly or intimate. "Over on Campbellton Road" is not an expression you would find in "Google directions", where you would more likely see an exact numerical address, e.g. "412 East Campbellton Rd." When you say "over", it has a slang-y undemanding vagueness that can put others at ease.

2) It also communicates that the speaker knows the area. You can hear that in his mind he is viewing his personal image of the area, and mentally "pointing" to a particular place by calling it "over there". He is inviting his listener to share in perceiving this imaginary mental map.

  • I don't really understand what you meant by "He is inviting his listener to share in perceiving this imaginary mental map." Don't we the one who shares not the listener? Aug 20 '19 at 7:25

Over = in a place that is on the other side of a space or area: Bill lives over on the other side of town. So, in effect, it locates a speaker in regard to the location described in a sentence.

  • I dont' understand why we use over in these sentences? Bill lives on the other side of town? How different is this sentence from your sentence? Aug 19 '19 at 23:41
  • Maybe your example Near the woods over on Campbellton Road, they found it is more illustrative —from it I can infer that the speaker is not located in the vicinity of the woods. Aug 19 '19 at 23:50
  • ...on the other side of town... On what side of town? There are many of them and every is the other to the opposite one. Over, on the other hand, implies that Bill lives on the other side of town right across from where the speaker lives. Aug 20 '19 at 0:07
  • I think saying "on the other side of town" already implies the other side from the speaker. Adding "over" in these sentences gives no more extra detail I suppose. Aug 20 '19 at 0:13
  • But it works fine in the case of the woods. Language is always excessive, we can drop quite a few words from a phrase and yet understand the meaning. It's like a genome—everything that is not harmful outright is dragged along. There is no strict logic in that respect. Aug 20 '19 at 0:25

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