Both of the words overnight and over night are correct uses for the phrase, but depending on what the intent is will depend on which version to use. There are many different ways to use both phrases and both are quite commonly found throughout the English language.
Continue reading on to learn more about the definition of the phrases, examples of how to use each one properly within a sentence, and a helpful little tip on remembering when and how to use both.
What does Overnight Mean?
The Oxford English dictionary defines the term ‘overnight’ to mean “for the duration of the night.” Overnight can be used as an adverb, an adjective, or a noun. Here are a few examples of the word ‘overnight’ being used in each form.
Examples of Overnight Used as a Noun:
- We let our son have an overnight at a friend’s house this past weekend.
- She had an overnight after the prom.
Using overnight as an adverb:
- The new construction on the road seemingly sprang up overnight.
- The snow fell overnight so it is not safe to drive yet.
The adjective form of overnight:
- Be sure to sleep on it because you shouldn’t make an overnight decision.
- Your success will not happen overnight so you should try to relax.
What does Over Night Mean?
Over night means to prefer something over the night. This is usually paired with the word day. Over night should never be used to substitute for overnight because they are different words with different meanings. Over night is two words and should only be used in the example below:
- He prefers day over night
- The dog likes to sleep more in the day over night
While over night is not as common as overnight, it still can be found in comparative sentences.
How to Choose the Correct Version
There are only a few instances in which you would choose to use the phrase over night instead of overnight. Most of the time you will need to use the word overnight. A good way to remember which version to use is that you cannot go overboard with overnight. Both of these words are connected and they serve as a reminder of which to use.
Whether you are using overnight as an adverb, adjective, or a noun, few other words in the English language are as versatile as overnight.