A long heavy chain connected the steel ball to a ship above.

Would you possibly show me what the bold part would mean?

It could be useful if someone could teach me it through an image.

  • The dictionary defines "above" as "in or to a higher position than something else". I don't understand the source of your confusion. Are you having trouble understanding which thing in the sentence is above something else? – ColleenV parted ways Feb 18 '15 at 13:33

This can be understood by adding a few words that are implied:

A long heavy chain connected the steel ball to a ship [that was] above [the steel ball].

Since you asked for an image, there is one below:

enter image description here


Above means at a higher position or place. In your case, it may be that there's a steel ball underwater which is connected to a (floating) ship.

Consider this example, easier to understand :

The plane was flying above the clouds.

Over could also be used in this sentence. But keep in mind that above and over are not always synonyms.

Over means also that two objects are touching, whereas above does not have such connotation.

Thus, it is correct to say:

He wore a coat over his suit.

But the following sentence is wrong:

He wore a coat above his suit.

  • I like it so far, but I think it can get even more complex than that - ending up with the speaker needing to know almost by instinct when each could be used. A boat can sail over the ocean; a plane can fly over the ocean. 'Over' in those cases implying 'starting from one side & ending up at the other'… more akin to 'across'. On the other hand, a plane flew above the ocean indicates 'how high' rather than 'how far' - a boat would struggle with that one ;) – Tetsujin Feb 16 '15 at 16:02
  • There'll Be Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs of Dover, doesn't imply the birds will be touching the cliffs. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 16 '15 at 16:12
  • @FumbleFingers Exactly. As I wrote, one can use over instead of above, but not always vice versa. – Generalbrus Feb 16 '15 at 16:20
  • Okay, Queen Victoria ruled over a vast empire. I'm not sure how generally your "definition" applies, but at the very least you should be saying "over" can also mean that two objects are touching. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 16 '15 at 18:35
  • Please note that my answer refers to the given question. Above and over share the definition I wrote: "at a higher position or place". Of course they have other meanings, but in this context I think it is relevant to remark that "over" can also mean that two objects are touching . I did not make this last point as clear as you did, though... so thanks ;) – Generalbrus Feb 16 '15 at 19:11

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