As a journalist, I learned throughout the years about all the idiosyncrasies of the English language. If you write or say anything incorrectly that goes public, the audience will certainly correct you. And it’s something you never forget. Years ago, at a little station in Lafayette, Louisiana, the news anchor kept me on my toes as a writer, always reminding me which was the most correct term. Is it pleaded or plead? Over 5 years or more than 5 years?

I have seen thousands of resumes / cover letters / LinkedIn profiles that summarize their background as “Over X years of experience.” It made me cringe, because the correct term is “more than x years of experience,” not “over” x years . “Over” describes a measurement, as in 10 feet. “More than” has always been the correct way to phrase it when you’re describing years of experience.  Writing over instead of more than has been the #1 most common mistake I’ve seen on amateur resumes over the past 13 years. But all that is about to change.

Poynter is reporting that the phrase “over” will now be accepted as a correct term because of it’s common use. GASP!

So while it’s been commonly misused all these years, it’s now OK to use either phrase.

And by the way, I learned that pleaded is more correct than “plead” <pled>even though plead is becoming more commonplace.