I'm reading a conversation between a customer and an shop assistant. It goes like this:

C: Excuse me. Where do I pay for these?
A: Over at the cash register.

I can't figure why he said that.

Or these examples:

'Bill lives over on the other side of town.'
'She was standing over by the window.'

How is 'over' contributing to the meaning in all these sentences?! I feel if I drop 'over', nothing changes, is that so?

  • 2
    Over implies a little or some distance away from the speaker or the hearer, as in over there / over here.
    – Kinzle B
    Mar 21, 2016 at 12:03
  • 1
    It doesn't do much. It's usually a filler word unless it's attached to something else that gives it meaning. Like "over the walkway" or "over the ocean". I have no idea why we say that.
    – user15474
    Mar 21, 2016 at 12:05
  • @William Kappler Thanks that's a relief then I suppose 😃. and Kinzle on the other side of town implies the distance ofcourse that's why it's the OTHER side of town.Is over used for emphasis here?
    – Yuri
    Mar 21, 2016 at 12:16
  • I'd say no. No emphasis intended. Like Will said, it's just a filler word.
    – Kinzle B
    Mar 21, 2016 at 12:21
  • I suspect this originally came about from having things like hills between you and your destination. If there was a hill between here and the other side of town, you would need to go over it. Hence "Bill lives over [the hill] on the other side of town". It has since become a generic filler word though.
    – Lacklub
    Mar 21, 2016 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


It is not merely a filler word. There are subtle differences.

Over at the cash register.

Here it serves the same purpose as the now archaic yonder did in the days of yore. The speaker is being polite (sort of) and helpful (kind of).

Bill lives over on the other side of town.

Not the happiest choice of words, but over does in fact imply here that the speaker (and maybe the listener two) are on this here side of town just now and would have to travel some ways in order to make personal contact with Bill, whoever this Bill happens to be.

She was standing over by the window.

Here the word indicates that the observer/reporter was in the same room and at some distance from said window and not, say, right beside "her," (or in a different place altogether).

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