Difference Between Below and Under

Below vs Under

It is very natural for any language to possess a number of words that indicate similar meanings with subtle differences and, in this context, it is very important to know the difference between below and under as they are two such words. While some such words can be used interchangeably, one may not be able to use others as substitutes for one another in certain contexts. Under and below are two words with similar meaning and must be discerningly used according to the context.

What does Under mean?

Under can be defined as the state of being beneath something. For example,

I met him under the tree.

Under can also be the state of being covered or being buried. For example,

She was discovered under a pile of rubble right after the rain had ceased. 

With relation to employment, under can be used to imply that one is employed in a subordinate position or condition. For example,

He works directly under me.

Under can also be used to imply in a lower degree or below a certain amount. For example,

He was chosen for the under 15 swimming team.

She could have anything under 100$ for her birthday. 

Difference Between Below and Under

 What does Below mean?

Below can be defined as being at a lower position or place. For example,

The crew was instructed to head below deck during the storm.

It can also be used to imply an amount lesser than a certain quantity or amount. For example,

Her weight was below the average.

When it comes to something written, below can be used to indicate a lower point of something written. For example,

See below for more details.

Below can also be used to mean the state of being unworthy of something. For example,

He was below our family. Therefore, we could not allow our daughter to marry him.

Difference Between Below and Under

What is the difference between Under and Below?

• Under and below can both be used to indicate the status of being at a lower level and therefore, can be used interchangeably in certain instances. They can be used to.

1. Indicate that something is below one’s expectations.

He was underpaid.

The quality of writing was below our expectation.

2. Indicate position.

The book was found under the bed.

The shelf was placed below the staircase.

3. Indicate position in employment.

She worked under my father.

His designation was two positions below mine. 

However, although similar in meaning, the two words cannot be used be used interchangeably as certain contexts demand each word to be used exclusively.

• Under can be used to indicate something immediately under something. For example,

She was hiding under the bed this whole time.

She kept his photo under her pillow.

• The lower position below speaks of is not immediately under and can be a little far off.

Below the roof, a rafter had come loose.

My room is right below the attic.

• Under is a preposition. Below is an adverb.

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