February 1


Learn How to Use to Overtake vs. to Take Over vs. Takeover – Podcast


Hello dear, dear listeners, you’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for learners of English.

I’m Kristian, your host, today it’s Monday 1 February, and in this episode we’re going to be talking about an experience I had this weekend when I was teaching one of my students.

This particular experience is what some people might call a pivotal moment for the podcast and the Facebook Page, and that’s why I want to share it with you.

On Sunday I was teaching one of my students, her name is Shannon, and at one point during the lesson we were talking about a situation in which one runner goes past another runner. I wanted to use a particular verb to express this situation but, and this is the one thing you don’t want as a non-native teacher, I couldn’t remember the verb. It wasn’t in my active vocabulary because I hadn’t used it enough.


Thankfully, slightly embarrassing moments like these force me to take action to improve myself, and that’s exactly what I did after we had finished the lesson. I visited the Cambridge dictionary online and then started to create this episode of the podcast.

You’re now listening to the result. Are you ready to dive in?

Alright, Here we go!

To overtake

So the verb I couldn’t remember is to overtake.

Simply said, to overtake is to go past someone because you’re faster.

For example, “I was going 100mph on the motorway and a BMW overtook me. He must have been going 130mph!”

According to the Cambridge Dictionary ‘to overtake’ means “To come from behind another vehicle or a person and move in front of them.”

For example,  “Always check your rear view mirror before you overtake (another car).”

Or you can say, “I accelerated to overtake the bus.”

Or when you’re talking about running a race you can say, “Dafne Schippers was gaining on her opponent throughout the race, but only overtook her at the very end.”

Got it?

You can also use to overtake in business context. Here it means: “to go past something by being a greater amount or degree.”

For example, “Our US sales have now overtaken our sales in Europe.”

Or, “Netflix is overtaking DVDs in popularity.”

Another meaning of the word to overtake is “to happen to a person or a place suddenly and unexpectedly”:
“The family was overtaken by tragedy several years ago, and they still haven’t recovered.” So in this case, maybe a family member tragically died in a car accident.

To take over

We also have the verb to take over . Here it means to take control of something

“Pirates have taken over the ship.”

“Myanmar’s military has taken over the country.” It means they seized power and took control.

And in business context it means, and this is again from the Cambridge dictionary online, “To take control of a company by buying enough shares to do this.”

For example, “The firm has been taken over by one of its main competitors.”

To take over can also mean: to replace someone or something.

For example, “Some workers will lose their jobs as machines take over.”

Or “When he died, his son took over as CEO.”

A takeover

And finally I want to mention the noun “a takeover”. It is usually associated with business.

According to Cambridge dictionary online, it is a situation in which a company gets control of another company by buying enough of its shares.

There are all sorts of legal, administrative and HR issues that have to be dealt with in a company takeover.

It’s also known as an acquisition. You may be aware of the phrase Mergers & Acquisitions: this is the area of business devoted to exactly this, when one company takes over another.

Here’s an example, “Salesforce buys Slack in a $27.7B takeover.”

Or you can say, “Slack has agreed an $27.7bn takeover by Salesforce”

“The takeover battle is between two of America’s industrial/retail giants. Pepsi and Coca-Cola want to buy Red Bull.”

The End! What Are Your Thoughts?

Alright, that’s a wrap! I hope this was relevant and useful for you, and I hope you enjoyed listening to this episode.

Let me know your thoughts on this episode. It helps me to create better and better content for you in the future, so it’s really useful if you send me an email or leave a comment on the blog or Facebook.

For now I want to wish you a pleasant day (or night).

And please, take care of yourself, and each other, alright?

Speak soon, bye bye!

About the author 


Kristian is from The Netherlands and until the end of 2021 he's living in the beautiful city of Rotterdam. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam at grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, a book, podcasts or an audiobook.


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