What is the difference between those two sentences?

"He threw it in so many times that it changed its shape."

"He threw it in so many times over that it changed its shape"

I don't really understand the positioning of this "over" word, whether it belongs to the first part of the sentence or the other?

What I'm trying to ask is, where should I put a comma, before the word "over" or after?

In this opportunity, what is the difference between those two:

"The right front tire was slightly flatter than the left"

"The right front tire was ever so slightly flatter than the left"

  • 1
    In such contexts, over is an optional intensifier. Which to my mind is usually best avoided - especially in your example, where there's potential confusion with he threw it over so many times... It's okay in a context like The US has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world five times over (where it doesn't really function as an intensifier, and the construction actually seems slightly "odd" without it), but I'm not sure exactly why that is so. And ever so [slightly, whatever] is just another optional intensifier. Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 19:04
  • ...where it gets "clunky"... My coordination has improved over five times over (first instance over = it's more than 5 times better, second instance over = which is a lot). Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


"Do something (number) times over" is a more emphatic form of "do something (number) times", with an implication of some strong feeling such as frustration or wonder at the person repeating the action. It strongly suggests that the task kept on being unsuccessful or incomplete.

Having said that, I would not use it for "threw it in": it needs to be a task that is lengthy, laborious, or difficult.

  • Thank you very much, what an enlightening answer. Can you please answer my second one? Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 19:01
  • 2
    Yes, this is what happens when you ask two unrelated questions in the same posting: please don't. Ever so slightly is a more extreme (extremely small) version of slightly.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 19:05

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