Archive for March 28, 2010

idioms: to be over someone’s head / to go over someone’s head


There are two idioms today which are very closely related: “to be over someone’s head” and “to go over someone’s head”. They are used to talk about something which we don’t understand because it’s too complex for us. For example:

My friend likes to study philosophy. He understands it, but it’s totally over my head.

I tried to study physics in university, but it was all over my head.

I tried to tell a joke to my friend, but she doesn’t speak English well so it went over her head.

I don’t know much about computers, so I’m going to take a course about that. I hope what the teacher says doesn’t go over my head.

These two expressions are almost exactly the same except that we use “to go over someone’s head” with something which we experience once such as a joke or a lecture. We use “to be over someone’s head” with a general subject such as philosophy, physics, chemistry, etc.

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