overlap vs overlap 'with'


Senior Member
USA / English, German

The context here is programs: "The services offered by Program A overlap with the services offered by Program B."
It seems to me that the prepostion is unnecessary, but I'm not sure.


  • chat9998

    Senior Member
    English, US
    Hi guixols,

    I believe you could say it without the "with," but it would probably be much more common to have it in. If you're comparing two things that overlap, it is standard to explain the other one by setting it off with "with." Whereas, if you're just saying "Two things overlap," it is unnecessary. However, even there, you could say, "The two overlap with each other."

    Hope this helps,
    God bless,


    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    In addition to what Jeff said, there is the question of whether one thing overlaps another "opaquely," eclipsing it so to speak, or "transparently," the way red and yellow overlap to create orange. The preposition with is used with concepts more than concrete objects, because they tend to overlap in a way that "blends."

    But physical objects tend to simply overlap. A throwrug covers the passageway between two carpeted rooms, overlapping both carpets. You'd never say the rug overlapped with the carpet because in literal overlapping the accusative concept is appropriate-- one object physically covers the other.

    In figurative overlapping, the indirect-object (dative or ablative) logic applies, and the overlapping does something with what is overlapped, usually transform the zone where the overlapping occurs.


    Senior Member
    English, US
    Thanks fox,

    I was thinking on those lines, too, but I couldn't quite come up with how to phrase it, so I didn't say it... but you've done an excellent job! :)

    God bless,


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Why do you want to use with?
    A overlaps B.
    In BE, there are 10 overlaps for every overlap with.
    (British National Corpus)

    Which suggests that you shouldn't use with unless the use of with adds meaning (see FFB's post).


    Senior Member
    I would definitely not add the with. It sounds very wrong to me. It seems that the consensus is that some people think it is only correct without the with, and others say it could be either way. So if you leave it out, no one thinks it's wrong.