Below And Under

The Similarity in Meaning

Below and under can both mean 'lower than'. In this case they are interchangeable.

Example

  • My mother always keeps the gas tank under/below the kitchen set. 
  • Look. Your pen is under/below your desk.

The Difference

In some cases it is preferable/better to use one to the other.

Under

Under is preferably used when we talk about something which indicates contact. It's usually covered/hidden. 

Examples

  1. She put the money under the mattress. (The money has a contact with the mattress, the money touches the mattress)
  2. The gold is buried under the ground. (The gold touches the ground)
Under is also used to express less than or younger than.

Examples

  1. Children under eighteen are not allowed to enter the building.
  2. There are under a  hundred people in this village. 

Below

Below is generally used when we talk about something which indicates no contact. It's not directly under something. There is a space between the two things or surfaces we are talking about.  

Examples

  1. The cat is sleeping below the table. (The cat doesn't touch the table.)
  2. There is a mole below his left eye. (The mole doesn't touch the eye.)
Below is also used in measurement of temperature, height, and a vertical scale.

Examples

  1. According to the weather forecast, the temperature of the village will be 5 degrees  below zero.
  2. Please hang this picture below the biggest one.
  3. Our apartment is two floors below hers.

Typical Phrases


 under              below
under a false name 
under a new name
under an obligation
under age
under arrest
under control
under current laws
under maintenance
under no circumstances
under new management
under one's breath
under pressure
under repair
under somebody
under suspicion
under the care of ....
under the direction of ...
under the weather
below average
below one's expectation
below par (below the standard expected)
below the horizon
below the sea level
below the top of the mountain

Below and Under Exercises

Exercise I

Complete the sentences with below or under.

  1. She hides all her money... the bed.
  2. Please hang the picture ... the clock. 
  3. We live ... the sky.
  4. My grandparents live around 100 metres ...the top of that hill.
  5. He is staying ............our room.
  6. They found gold .... the ground.
  7. Please hide this ........ the carpet.
  8. Can you remove the picture .......our family's photograph. It doesn't look good.
  9. The cat is hiding ..... the desk.
  10. The floor ..........that roof is wet. It's leaking somewhere.

Exercise II

Complete the phrases with below or under.
  1. .........no circumstances, you should enter that room.
  2. I can't make any decisions because I am ..... Mr. Black. He's the boss.
  3. He's very poor. His monthly income is ......... the average of everyone's in this village.
  4. His performance was ......... par. That's he lost the match.
  5. He writes his blogs ...... his false name.
  6. Police. You're ........ arrest.
  7. Everything's ........ control. I can manage this project well.
  8. Today is freezing. It's 5 degrees .......zero.
  9. Before you apply for this kind of job, make sure you are able to work ........ pressure.
  10. ..........an obligation of paying his debt, it's very hard for him to save his money in the bank.

Answer

Exercise I

  1. She hides all her money under the bed.
  2. Please hang the picture below the clock. 
  3. We live below the sky.
  4. My grandparents live around 100 metres below the top of that hill.
  5. He is staying below our room.
  6. They found gold under the ground.
  7. Please hide this under the carpet.
  8. Can you remove the picture below our family's photograph. It doesn't look good.
  9. The cat is hiding under/below the desk.
  10. The floor below   that roof is wet. It's leaking somewhere.

Exercise II

  1. under
  2. under
  3. below
  4. below
  5. under
  6. under
  7. under
  8. below
  9. under
  10. under















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