Difference Between Beneath and Under

Beneath vs Under

Difference between beneath and under is very subtle. Beneath and under are two terms that can at times be used interchangeably because of their similar meanings. However, in certain contexts, using beneath and under interchangeably can seem a little out of place.

What does Beneath mean? What does Under mean?

Beneath and under are both terms that can be used to indicate a position. They both indicate a position that is lower. For example,

The cabinet was beneath the staircase.

The cabinet was under the staircase. 

Beneath vs Under | Difference Between

They both can be used to indicate the state of being buried or concealed by something. For example,

My sister was hidden beneath several layers of blankets.

My sister was hidden under several layers of blankets.

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What is the difference between Beneath and Under?

Although almost functioning as synonyms for one another, beneath and under have minute differences between one another and, therefore, cannot be used interchangeably.

• Beneath can be used as an adverb and a preposition. Under is a preposition.

• Beneath is a more formal word. Under is more of a casual term and is, therefore, the more popular choice.

• Beneath and under can also be used to indicate below an expected quality or amount. However, using them interchangeably would seem odd.

It was beneath me to marry him.

She was under 21 and, therefore, could not enter the pub.

• Beneath is a term that can be exclusively used to indicate a position. Under can be used in a variety of ways to indicate many things. For example, going under, under age, underpaid, etc.

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  1. Difference Between Beneath and Below 
Image Courtesy: 
1. Violence is beneath us by Neal Jennings (CC BY-SA 2.0)
2. What Lies Beneath by Andy Wright (CC BY 2.0)
3. Beneath the Pyramids by Ann Wuyts (CC BY-ND 2.0)