Look at these words which start with ‘over’. Are they generally positive or negative?
Adjectives: over-weight, over-priced, over-rated, over-fished, over-excited, over-tired, over-crowded, over-protective, over-confident, over-qualified, over-cautious, overpowering
Verbs: overdo, overreact, overcook, oversleep, overspend, overeat, overrun, overuse, overload, overstep, overstay, overcharge
Check your answer here
Generally, the suffix ‘over’ means ‘too much’ or ‘more than necessary’ and is negative.
[Not always – there are some positive examples e.g. to feel overjoyed, to overcome obstacles, and some neutral ones e.g. to overtake, to overhaul]
PS Are you worried about when to use the hyphen? Stop worrying – it’s not important. I checked all of these words in various dictionaries and there is no clear rule.
You will not lose points if you forget or add a hyphen e.g. over-weight = overweight]
‘It could also be said that there is an overwhelming benefit in terms of the environment, in that home learning has a much smaller carbon footprint than conventional study.’
‘Overwhelming’ has both a positive and negative meaning.
1. Negative meaning: having such a great effect on you that you feel confused and do not know how to react
– The quantity of materials I need to prepare for the IELTS test is overwhelming.
– I feel overwhelmed by the task.
2. Positive/Neutral meaning: very large or greater, more important etc than any other
e.g. There is overwhelming evidence that smoking damages your health.
This second meaning is really useful in IELTS – you can use it to add emphasis and replace ‘huge, enormous, significant etc’, as in the example above (an overwhelming benefit).
Other collocations with ‘overwhelming’:
- The overwhelming majority of the jobs created were in the private sector.
- The campaign was an overwhelming success.
- There is no overwhelming evidence to support this.
- There was an overwhelming response to the survey.
- Opposition to the government was absolutely/completely overwhelming.
Write your own sentence following this pattern:
‘It could be said that there is an overwhelming benefit/disadvantage in terms of [be specific here], in that [explanation here]’.
‘It could be said that there is an overwhelming disadvantage in terms of the economy, in that other countries will no longer want to trade with the UK’.