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'Over'-ly literal

C
an we get over the "over" taboo?

I'll stop short of insisting that editors stop changing "over 100 people" to "more than 100 people," though in my heart I know that the "more than" fetish is as much a superstition as the belief that "hopefully" can't mean what everybody thinks it means.

But when the aversion to "over" turns into a coronation of "during," I have to speak up. When a company's stock has risen 300 percent over the past five years, "over," with its time-span connotation, is the correct word, no matter what all those "during"-happy copy editors say. (If those shares rose by that much during the past five years, how do I know they're still at that level?)

"Over" is also, if only for idiomatic reasons, the correct word for discussing what happened over the weekend. Say "During the weekend" or "on the weekend" to copy editors and "at the weekend" to the British, but regular American people do things over the weekend.

"During" has problems other than those too-eager substitutions for "over." Often it's a bloated and oddly detached way of saying "in." Anybody can say something during a presidential news conference. If the president says something, however, it's in that news conference.




Now what?

Move on to ONE TIME MORE

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