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Over (preposition):

Extending above (an area) from a vantage point. (Definition by Lexico Dictionary)

Sentence:

I went out in the balcony and saw a dark-haired, rather thin guy over the garden.

Is the use of "over" in the above sentence correct?

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  • The speaker looked out over the garden from the balcony, but what was the dark-haired man doing? Was he in the garden? Apr 4, 2020 at 16:26
  • The man is standing in the garden, not over the garden. Or if the speaker wants to emphasize that the man is a distance away, he might say that the man was "over in the garden."
    – SarahT
    Apr 4, 2020 at 20:17
  • Here's an another example but this one is provided by the Lexico Dictionary itself:-"She looks out of the window over the parking lot and slides the tray of untouched fries away."
    – Ritesh Jha
    Apr 5, 2020 at 4:11

2 Answers 2

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The Lexico example that you quoted in your comment is correct because "over the parking lot" says that the window looks out over the parking lot.

The sentence in your question is not correct because the guy doesn't have a vantage point over the garden- your balcony does, and you do. You usually to use this meaning of over with the verb look rather than see.

You could make your sentence work by changing it like this:

I went out onto the balcony and looked out over the garden, where I saw a rather thin, dark-haired guy.

Note that there is a conventional sequence for adjectives, and size comes before colour, so thin should be before dark haired.

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So the way that is set up suggests that the man is over the garden, like flying above it. So if you are trying to say that you saw the man standing in the garden, and you are in a non-formal setting, you could say,

"I went out to the balcony and saw a dark-haired, rather thin guy over in the garden."

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