in Vs over (about time)

Saadat.farzaneh

Member
Persian
Hi all.
"In" and "over" have some different meanings. In Longman Dictionary I find a meaning of each of them that I think in the meaning maybe they are synonyms.
over: during
  • Will you be home over the summer vacation?
  • Over a period of ten years he stole a million pounds from the company.
  • Can we talk about this over dinner?
in: during a period of time
  • It was amazing how much we managed to do in a day.
  • the hardest decision I ever made in my life
Is something that I think about "in" and "over" correct and they are synonyms and we can them instead of each other?
Or they are used in different usage in this meaning and we can't use them instead of each other?
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Over" often includes the whole period, or most of it at any rate ("Will you be home over the summer vacation?"). If you were to replace "over" with "in", then it might only be a short visit.

    For the stole a million pounds sentence, you could use either, but with "in", you do not need "a period of" (although it may be better to leave it in). This is an important difference between the two words; they may sometimes mean the same thing, but they are used differently.

    "Over dinner" cannot be "in dinner"; here "over" means while something else is going in.

    Neither of the "in" sentences can be changed to "over". You could add a noun to the "do in a day" sentence to be able to use "over" ("over the course of a day", perhaps), but it does not sound as good.

    "In my life" can only be this, because "in" means "within", not over the entire course of; this is the same distinction as the summer vacation example.
     

    Saadat.farzaneh

    Member
    Persian
    "Over" often includes the whole period, or most of it at any rate ("Will you be home over the summer vacation?"). If you were to replace "over" with "in", then it might only be a short visit.

    For the stole a million pounds sentence, you could use either, but with "in", you do not need "a period of" (although it may be better to leave it in). This is an important difference between the two words; they may sometimes mean the same thing, but they are used differently.

    "Over dinner" cannot be "in dinner"; here "over" means while something else is going in.

    Neither of the "in" sentences can be changed to "over". You could add a noun to the "do in a day" sentence to be able to use "over" ("over the course of a day", perhaps), but it does not sound as good.

    "In my life" can only be this, because "in" means "within", not over the entire course of; this is the same distinction as the summer vacation example.
    Thank you, dear Uncle Jack.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    They're by no means synonyms and the difference is as you describe.
    over the summer vacation - you could say in, although over suggests a long period like over a period of ten years.
    over dinner - I don't think most people would regard this as period of time, although I suppose it is. The emphasis is on the conversation. Dinner is just the occasion when you're having it.
    in a day - within a day, we did it in no more than a day.
    in my life - within a period, although you made the decision at one point in time.
    Cross-posted.
    I'll do it over the weekend - at some point. In the weekend is always wrong anyway.
    This is the tenth time in two days that I've asked him to do it.
     
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