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    #1

    Differernce between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'

    Can someone please explain the difference between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'?

    Here are two sentences:

    1. He gave me the news on the phone.
    2. He gave me the news over the phone.

    What's the difference?

    Also, here is one of the differences I believe to be true:

    We can say "He is on the phone" but not "He is over the phone." If we want to use 'over', then we need to further expand on the sentence, like "He was fired over the phone". What I'd like to know is if this is true or not?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Differernce between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'

    Quote Originally Posted by batmura View Post
    Can someone please explain the difference between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'?

    Here are two sentences:

    1. He gave me the news on the phone.
    2. He gave me the news over the phone.

    What's the difference? There is no difference in meaning.

    Also, here is one of the differences I believe to be true:

    We can say "He is on the phone" but not "He is over the phone." If we want to use 'over', then we need to further expand on the sentence, like "He was fired over the phone". What I'd like to know is if this is true or not? More or less, yes.
    Bhai.

  2. SlickVic9000's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Differernce between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'

    *Not a Teacher*

    In the example you've given, I would use "over the phone".
    However, either one would work.

    The two phrases are generally interchangeable, with the exception of instances such as "He is over the phone." as you have already mentioned.

    Information, conversations, and transactions can be exchanged or conducted both "on" and "over" the phone.

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    #4

    Re: Differernce between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'

    Over the phone to me is similar in meaning to by means of the phone.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Differernce between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Over the phone to me is similar in meaning to by means of the phone.
    The apparent exception ('not "He is over the phone"') disappears when you see that in 'He is on the phone' 'on the phone' is an adjectival phrase* , whereas in 'He was fired over the phone' 'over the phone' is an adverbial phrase. It would work in an extremely improbable context such as 'When they finally got the door open he was dead, hanging lifeless over the phone'

    b

    PS *(metaphorically - a person 'on' the phone is really somewhere else, connected by the telephone network, but the metaphor of telephone communication has the person on it rather than just speaking via it)

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Differernce between 'on the phone' and 'over the phone'

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Over the phone to me is similar in meaning to by means of the phone.
    Yes, I have always thought of the person being 'on' the phone, and the messages being relayed 'over' the phone. By extension, 'on the phone' can mean 'while on the phone' and can therefore be used with the content as well.

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