all over vs. over all

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Cyrus the Great, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. Cyrus the Great Registered Senior Member

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    I appreciate it very much, if you could tell me whether there is any difference between these or not.


    This book is written all over the region.

    This book is written over all the region.


    Thanks in advance
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I don't understand. These sentences don't make any sense. To say, "This book is read all over the region," means that people in many different cities in the region read the book. But a book is only written in one place.

    To say, "Rain fell over all the region," means that rain fell everywhere--or almost everywhere--in the region. Rain falls over the land--or on the land. But to say, "This book is written over all the region" sounds like someone with a gigantic pen actually wrote sentences on the ground and covered all of the land with very large letters and punctuation marks.

    Both of these sentences are wrong. Perhaps you meant to say, "This book is about the entire region."
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    There can be a subtle difference in the meaning of "over". "There are clouds over all the region," implies "above" but, "There is coal all over the region," doesn't.
     
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    This is true of all prepositions. There is only a very small set of them, they have to describe every possible relationship between two things, and unlike nouns and verbs we don't have a mechanism for creating new ones.

    We've been slowly drafting other parts of speech into service as prepositions, like "absent" and "regarding."

    However, in recent decades we have actually invented a new grammatical relationship: the noun-adjective compound. We just say "fuel-efficient" instead of "efficient with fuel," "cable-ready" instead of "ready for cable," "user-friendly" instead of "friendly to users," "antibiotic-resistant" instead of "resistant to antibiotics," "sugar-free" instead of "free of sugar." This demonstrates the fact that those prepositions mean absolutely nothing.
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Those older constructions resemble French. Are we retreating from French?

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  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    It demonstrates the opposite - the fact that our need for what our meager stock of prepositions does has encouraged the drafting of words from other parts of speech and the creation (or borrowing, actually) of new linguistic constructions that half-ass the job demonstrates their value and importance to meaning.

    This assertion of the meaninglessness of prepositions you keep repeating on this forum has been debunked at least three times now - debunked using your supposed examples, and your supposed illustrations, and your confused arguments, each time. It's an interesting passing thought, whim, or whatever, but it simply isn't so. Time to give it up.

    btw: Cable-ready often means with cable installed and cable service available (not: ready for cable) , user-friendly means easy to use rather than friendly to users, sugar-free means without sugar rather than free of sugar (think heroin-free / free of heroin), and so forth.

    The one refers to a continuous or unitary something, a mass or area or spread or extent (the region entire); the other refers to discontinuous or fragmented or numbered or otherwise separable distributions (here and there in distinct places one might find anywhere in the region).

    There is grass over all this region / There is grass all over this region / there are grasses over all this region / there are grasses all over this region.

    Continuous/massed vs fragmented/numerous.

    That is not a subtle shade of meaning, but a basic and fundamental distinction of perception and thought well established in English generally and often by the preposition in particular - one of the strengths of English as a language.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think so. The distribution of the clouds could be very similar to the distribution of the coal. It's just that we have the slightly odd construction "all over" for coal which is clearly under. In the case of clouds, they are both "all over" and literally over.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    24,091
    Not with respect to the ground- if clouds are over all the region, then everywhere in the region would have clouds over it, the whole region (all the region) would have clouds over it. There would be no part of the region without a cloud over it in some sense - in the sky up there, as you stand and look up. The region is unitary, all of it featuring the same conditions. If you aren't directly shadowed by a cloud at some given moment, you will be as they drift - there are clouds above you.

    With coal all over, there could be (and probably are) significant areas with no coal under their surface, and that is a fixed - even mappable - situation. The region is fragmented - some with coal, some without.

    I threw the grass example in to forestall that confusion.
     
  12. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    2,851
    But that isn't necessarily what we mean when we say, "There are clouds all over the region." Sometimes we mean that wherever we are in the region we can see clouds. Similarly, wherever we are in the region we might be equally close to coal.

    Really, you don't have to work so hard at disagreeing. I was only pointing out the differences in the use of the word "over".
     

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