Interesting. I hadn’t thought about it before. Now, living by myself, I never go “over to” Safeway or “over to” downtown. It’s just “to”. But when I lived with family or friends, we would always go “over to” another house for a visit.
Seems to imply a transfer of hospitality and a transfer of control, not simply a move of one human body between locations.
Maybe it’s the same over as in “handing over” the merchandise, or “sending over” a diplomat or messenger. Upon entering the door, you have entered a different set of social rules.
‘Over’ probably emphasizes distances and efforts.
Let’s go to China for our next vacation. (No need to talk about efforts here)
Let’s move our plants over to China. (Efforts and distances at issue here)
Let me move my queen over here. (Though small the chessboard, the squares traversed are many)
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