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The Prepositions 'Under'/'Underneath' & 'Below'/'Beneath'
Some prepositions have similar meaning and sound, and they are often a source of challenge for English-language learners. These include:
“Under”; “Underneath”; “Below”; “Beneath”
'Under' is the most common word and can be substituted for any of the other words. However, compared to “below', 'under' is most often used for 3-dimensional objects.
The bag is under the table.
'Under' is also used in idioms and phrasal verbs, for example, “to be under stress”, “to fall under a certain category”, “to be under review”,
'Underneath' is a more expressive variation of “under”. It can be used to emphasize nouns or position.
Underneath the ocean is a whole new world!”
'Below' is most often used to describe items on a flat plane or in 2-dimensions. It also describes the level of something.
The painting of the mountain is below the photo of the city skyline
The temperature dropped to ten degrees below Celsius last night.
'Beneath' is a formal version of “under”. However, it is also used to describe deep emotions or levels of human relationships or attitudes.
Beneath it all, he really loves her.
Doing housework is beneath her.