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A report of sentences that I found on Google follows:

Over the following years

  • Although William's main rivals were gone, he still faced rebellions over the following years and was not secure on his throne until after 1072
  • Support for gun control slipped to 54 percent over the following years.

In the following years

  • The 10-year difference between the youngest and oldest is not so dramatic here, but begins to register in the following years.
  • After the fall of Antwerp in 1585, King Philip II ordered Alexander Farnese to direct his military actions first towards the failed campaign of the Spanish Armada, then against France to prevent the succession of King Henry IV. In the following years the Army of Flanders was entirely on the defensive.
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While both mean that for a particular period, something happened, 'over' emphasizes more on gradual procedure, showing the change periodically. On the other hand, 'in' talks about the results straightforwardly. The flair of 'through something' lacks there.

Think of an example wherein you want to talk about someone's struggle before his success. Here, using over the following years fits better. Because using that phrase, you'd emphasize on the periodical events and efforts through which he turned from rags to riches. Nevertheless, you might use in the following years simply to show his success.

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The difference between the two points to lexico-aspectual (I pulled that bit of jargon out of my elbow) features of the verb-phrases when combined with prepositions like in|over.

Sporadic or gradual action that occurs periodically or progresses piecemeal (irregularly, but in a clear trend) throughout a time-span:

he still faced rebellions over the following years

Support for gun control slipped to 54 percent over the following years.

Incipient action that begins within a certain identifiable time-frame:

The ... difference ... begins to register in the following years.

The predicate is confined to and obtains to a specific time-frame

In the following years the Army of Flanders was entirely on the defensive.

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