pass over

Ben pan

Senior Member
chinese
Suppose, my friend want to give me a book and ask me to hand it to another man. That man also has stretch out his hand. But I keep still, doing nothing. Then can my friend say: please pass it over?


Also, if I come to a shallow creek,and have to step into the water and walk through it, being afraid that there is some annoying animals there, can I say to my companions,sorry, I cannot pass over it.
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No and no, "pass over" fits neither of those scenarios. Your book friend could say "please hand it over", or "please pass it to him". At your creek you could say "sorry, I cannot step into it" (or, as you've already mentioned, "walk through it"). There are a few other possibilities, but "pass over" is not among them. For one thing, 'over' denotes a different path from 'through', and in a sense going over it as opposed to through it is what you would actually prefer to do, if only it were possible, such as if there were a bridge, or if one of your friends were to carry you.
     

    Ben pan

    Senior Member
    chinese
    I can see how attentive you are to all of my problems. Thank you! But another problem arises. Pass can mean the same thing as hand in hand it over. So why cannot we replace hand with pass. Is it just because that pass over has become a verb phrase and thus has speicfic meaning?
     
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    Ben pan

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Can we simply say pass the river, whether you are carried by a boat or pass it with your feet?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, in that case we would cross the river, not pass it. If we pass a river, that need not (and probably mostly doesn't) mean crossing it. You could be travelling along a road, this road could get to the river, run along (parallel to) the river for a little, then turn away from it again. Then you would have passed the river without crossing it.

    And as to your earlier question, relating to the specific meaning of pass over, there could be some truth in what you assume, but more likely it is just that over doesn't work terribly well with pass. It is not the case that you absolutely cannot say "pass the book over (to him)", it's just that, to me, it feels awkward. But that's just one subjective opinion. Others may differ.
     
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