January 13th, 2004 • 1:49 am
This is something that has been bothering me for a long time… Since English is only my second language, I don’t always have the “intuitive” knowledge required.
In this particular case, I just can’t seem to find any information about the difference between more than and over when applied to a number.
Is there any difference between more than 400 subscribers and over 400 subscribers?
I’ve just submitted the question to the Chicago Manual of Style. (There is nothing in the manual about this.) To their great credit, they provided an almost immediate answer:
The meaning is the same, and I don’t know of a preference for either expression on the part of grammarians, but “more than” strikes me as slightly more formal than “over.”
When I look at random for occurrences of the two phrases with Google, I find all kinds of pages where one is used in the summary of an article and the other one in the body of the article itself. Which would indicate that they are indeed interchangeable. But I’d like to know for sure. Yet I cannot find any reference to the issue in any style guide or English grammar.