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Started March 22, 2012 - 03:59 PM


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Is it overall or over all?

Is it overall or over all? Do I use this as one word or two?

#2 Chris M. Replied March 23, 2012 - 09:23 AM

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It depends on what you are trying to say. The word "overall" is what you use when you are talking about something in its entirety, or as a whole. For example, you would say, "Overall, I think the project was a success," or, "There were 500 of them overall."

There are a few contexts in which you would want to use "over all," however. For example, if you say, "The plane flew over all of the houses on our street," you would want to use two separate words. Using "overall" here would be an error.

#3 laurabutler Replied March 27, 2012 - 12:43 PM


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To elaborate on Chris M.'s answer, think about parts of speech. Overall is an adjective or adverb that means "as a whole" and over all is a prepositional phrase made of two words. Over is the preposition which indicates a direction, and all is the object of that preposition. For example, if you write "the motorcycle jumped over all the cars" use the two word phrase, but if you write "he is feeling better overall" use the single word. If you are still not sure, try replacing overall with "as a whole" and if it still makes sense use overall, but if it does not make sense use over all.

#4 buhi Replied April 16, 2012 - 05:51 PM


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I would like to sharpen the previous post a little bit. Laurabutler correctly says that "overall" is an adjective or an adverb, but doesn't distinguish between the two parts of speech. Let me give a couple of examples:


"Overall, your performance was excellent, but you did fail the hippo-wrangling portion of the test."
"The airplane was 50 feet long overall."


"Your overall score was excellent; however, you do show some weakness when you wrangle hippos."
"The overall appearance of the model was unaffected by the minor blemish on his face."

See how the adjectives are used to modify the nouns "score" and "appearance?"

Now, "overall" is also a noun when you use it to refer to the item of clothing consisting of pants and a bib held up with straps. It's usually plural in this usage. http://www.merriam-webster.com/art/dict/overall.htm is a picture.

#5 Guest_Aerow Spindaa_* Replied September 29, 2012 - 08:59 AM

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You say overall when you're trying to say "Overall, there were around 100 people". That's agood question, though. :)

-Aerow Spindaa

#6 gopikumar10 Replied February 07, 2013 - 06:58 AM


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it depend on how you are using this word as a singular or plural.....

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