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18 Sep
ENG45  0






Here are just some differentiation between close words.  

Above or over?

When we use above as a preposition, it means ‘higher than’. Its meaning is close to that of the preposition over. In the following sentences, over can be used instead of above:

The waves came up above her head and she started screaming. (or … came up over her head …)

She is a nervous flier. But once the plane got above the clouds, she started to relax. (or … got over the clouds …)

We use above, but not over, to refer to things that are at an upper or higher level:

Do they live in that cottage above the village?

Not: Do they live in that cottage over the village?

We usually use above, but not over, when there is no contact between the things referred to.

Over or on top of have a more general meaning, and can be used when one thing touches or covers another:

They made her comfortable and put a blanket over her.


Allow, permit or let?

Allow, permit and let are verbs that all have a similar meaning: ‘give permission or make it possible for somebody to do or have something’.

From formality point of view, permit is more formal than allowing and allow is more formal than let.

So, in spoken English, we hear let more.


The University has established a Museums Committee to permit more formal discussion of common problems amongst its museums.

The plan for Heathrow will allow airport operator BAA to build a third, shorter runway.

Will you let me pay for the meal?


We use a direct object + to-infinitive after permit and allow:

He has not decided yet whether his leg injury will permit him to play this weekend.

I would not allow a child to have a TV or a computer in their room.


We use an infinitive without to after let:

Why don’t you let me go?All my friends are going.

We don’t let employees use the office telephone for personal calls.



We often use the passive with a permit and allow:

A permit is often used for official public notices:

Photography is permitted for non-commercial use only.

You’re allowed to eat as much fruit as you like.

We’re not allowed to put posters on the walls.


We don’t usually use the passive with let:

The children were allowed to do whatever they wanted.

Not: The children were let do...


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