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Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
On the Phone or Over the Phone?
Tuesday January 3rd 2017
Question
What is the difference between "on the phone" and "over the phone"?  — Hasini, India
Answer

The phrase "on the phone" means that someone is using a telephone. The following examples show how "on the phone" is used:

 

  • Please do not interrupt your mother while she is on the phone. [=while she is using the phone]
  • Can you please turn down the TV? I am on the phone.
  • He was on the phone when I arrived at his house so I let myself in.

 

The phrase "over the phone" means that something is done using the phone as a way to do it. The following examples show how "over the phone" is used:

 

  • She told him the news over the phone. [=she used the phone to tell him the news rather than telling him in a letter or in person]
  • I am able to pay my bills over the phone so I don’t have to write checks.
  • We ordered take-out over the phone before driving to the restaurant to pick it up.

 

I hope this helps.

 

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