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The difference in meaning between "under", "below" and "beneath

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آوریل 18, 2014 در پیشنهاد و همفکری توسط Amin-med (15,335 امتیاز)

This text was in a reputable web-sites. I thought it can be advantageous and interesting for readers.

 

First of all, to make the difference between 'under' and 'below'. Both of these words can mean 'in a lower position than', so there's a sense in which they mean the same thing. But we use them sometimes in different circumstances, for example, if you're talking about something being covered by something, we use 'under'. So, 'I hid the key under a rock'. Or, 'officials said there was nothing under President Bush's jacket'.
 

You use 'below' when you're talking about something that's not physically immediately under, or not necessarily immediately under. So you say, 'below the surface of the water'. That might be anywhere below the surface of the water, not necessarily just touching it. Or, 'twenty miles below the earth's surface', definitely not immediately under it. And, by extension, we say things like, 'below the poverty line'.
 

We also use 'under' when we're talking about 'younger than' or 'less than'. So, 'under a dozen times', 'under the age of ten'. Whereas we use 'below', if we're visualising a kind of vertical scale. So, 'below sea level', 'below average', 'an IQ below 80', 'radio waves below 22 kHz'.
 

There are a number of fixed expressions, so, for example, a lot of expressions about what's happening while something else is going on, or because of certain conditions, or controlled by something or someone. So we say, 'under construction', 'under fire', 'under attack', 'under arrest', 'under these conditions', 'under scrutiny', 'under pressure', 'under the Ceausescu regime'. All of those form a kind of a family.
 

So what about 'beneath'? Well, 'beneath' is basically more literal, or formal, and we use it in many of the same senses. But there are lots of fixed phrases, and so what you want to do is just read a lot and note when one is used and when the other is used.

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پاسخ داده شد سپتامبر 15, 2015 توسط NightWalker (12,062 امتیاز)

Both below and under can mean ‘lower than’.

  • The knives are in the cupboard under the sink. OR The knives are in the cupboard below the sink.

Below is preferred when one thing is not directly under another.

  • The sun disappeared below the horizon. (NOT The sun disappeared under the horizon.)
  • The climbers stopped several hundred meters below the top of the mountain.

Under is preferred when something is covered by what is over it.

  • He was wearing a blue shirt under his sweater.
  • The cat is under the bed.
  • The whole village was under water.

In measurements of temperature and height we use below.

  • The temperature is five degrees below zero.
  • Parts of the city are below sea level.

To mean ‘less than’ or ‘younger than’ we use under.

  • There were under ten students in the class. (NOT There were below ten students in the class.)
  • You can’t get a driving license if you are under 18. (NOT You can’t get a driving license if you are below 18.)

Notes

There is a similar difference between above and over. Above is used in measurements of temperature and height.
Over is used to express ideas such as ‘older than’ and ‘more than’.

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