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I know we use can use “above,” in a sentence like “The bridge above started shaking” instead of “The bridge above me started shaking” I would like to know if we can do the same omission when using “over”.

For example, can we say these sentences omitting the words in the parentheses?

The blanket over (me/us) suddenly fell down. (Meaning: The blanket covering the body…)

The clouds over (me/us) suddenly disappeared. (Meaning: The clouds above…)

The birds flying over (me/us) swooped towards a tree. (Meaning: The birds flying above…)

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  • Yes, but we'd actually say: The blanket covering us suddenly fell off us.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 18:15

2 Answers 2

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What you're asking here is whether the adverb "over" works in places where the preposition "over" works. The answer is sometimes.

The adverb "over" has rules about where it can be used, and these rules are not the same as the adverb "above".

For instance, in your first two example sentences, you've tried using the adverb "over" as an adjunct following a noun. You cannot do this with "over", even though you can with "above".

Here's some other places where "over" cannot be used where preposition "over" works.

as predicates:

A plane is over the house.
A plane is over.

as sentential adverbs:

Over the hills, clouds floated.
Over, clouds floated.

In your third example sentence, you use "over" as an adverb modifying the verb "flying". This is fine.

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The word over can be either a preposition (requiring an object), or an adverb (attaching to a verb, with no object).

In your first two examples, over is a preposition. If you try to omit the object, there is no verb that it can attach to, so it can't be an adverb and it must have its object.

In the third example, you can use an object, and over is then the head of a preposition phrase modifying the verb flying. If you omit the object, then over is not a preposition, and it must be read as an adverb attaching directly to flying. So, in example 3, the object is optional.

Merriam-Webster over
(preposition or adverb)

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