In Excess Of

We use several different expressions to mean “more than.”

The American Chemical Society Style Guide says to use the more accurate terms “greater than” or “more than” rather than the imprecise “over” or “in excess of.”


greater than 50%, not in excess of 50%

more than 100 samples, not over 100 samples

more than 25 mg, not in excess of 25 mg, not over 25 mg

“Greater than” is generally used with a number, a percentage, or unit of measure


The number of rock types was greater than five.

Porosity greater than 5%

Permeability greater than 10 md

“Over” is generally used only for a person’s age, e.g., 10% discount for those over 65. Over usually means “above,” referring to location rather than number.
For numbers of objects, use “more than.”


There were more than a dozen frac trucks lined up along the highway.

“In excess of” has a connotation of going beyond what is a normal or proper limit.


The new GPS tracking device installed on the trucks will send your boss a text message if your speed is in excess of posted speed limits.

Some grammarians consider “in excess of” as fat that could be trimmed to tighten up your writing. I call it hoity-toity writing. Use “more than” or “greater than” unless you are in fact exceeding some limit.

Made me laugh today:

total production drooped, rather than dropped.

Profound Quote of the Day:
“As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.”

– Josh Billings, American comedian, 1818-1885


One Response to “In Excess Of”

  1. pidgeperry Says:

    Just wanted to thank you for these blogs.
    They are very useful, and appreciated.

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