Over vs during


Senior Member
Hello :)
Is there any real difference between "over" and "during"? Are they completely interchangeable?

I know I can say "during/over holidays"

but can I replace "during" with "over" (and vice versa) each time I am talking about a lenght of time?

Thank you
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello HM. My gut reaction ~ almost a reflex action ~ is to say, "Don't ever assume that any two words in English are entirely interchangeable ~ if they were, there wouldn't really be any need for both words."

    Unfortunately my brilliance on the subject ends there:(

    Imber Ranae

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I would say definitely not. "Over" meaning "during" is only used in certain fixed expressions, like "over the weekend/holidays", "over dinner", "over the period of...", etc.

    You could not say, for example, "We were not allowed to talk over the exam" when you mean "during the exam".


    Senior Member
    So, is it a matter of collocations then, or mabe the difference concers a lenght of time?


    Senior Member
    English English
    I think that maybe there's a bit more precision to during than there is to over ~ we're more likely to use it with a time span which has a precise starting-point and a precise end-point, whereas over tends to get associated with rather vaguer periods of time:
    during the month of September
    during Lent
    during my apprenticeship at WordRef

    over the years
    over the course of months rather than weeks
    over dinner

    But I might be hallucinating all that.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Over' is also more acceptable for future periods, I think:

    The exhibition is being held over the next three days.

    In such cases, 'during' seems to mean a point inside the period:

    The exhibition is being held over Lent. (it lasts 40 days)
    The exhibition is being held during Lent. (it happens on some of those days)
    The exhibition is being held during the next three days. (but I don't know yet which day it will be)


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hmmm ... 10 years later and I've ended up here because I want to change "during" to "over" in an article I'm editing "...paternal line selected during 36 generations"... Because I think "over the generations" just sounds better than during… But the jury is still out... :)


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    During is definitely wrong there.

    It's hard to tell without a complete sentence but I expect what's needed is something like "over the course of 36 generations".

    Edit: fixed typo
    everything -> something
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Global markets tumbled for a sixth consecutive day on Thursday, dragging the S&P 500 down more than 10 percent in just over a week, reflecting rising fears over the coronavirus spreading quickly around the world.

    Hi, everyone!
    I saw the sentence above in an article, but what's the difference between 'over' and 'during' here?
    Are they interchangeable here?

    Thanks in advance! :)

    Source:Coronavirus Live Updates: Cases Soar in Italy, Iran and South Korea as Alarm Grows
    < Previous | Next >