Below vs. Under

The prepositions below and under can both mean lower than. But there are some differences.


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

  • When the sun sets, it sinks below the horizon.

Below is used in measurements of temperature and height, and in other cases where we think of a vertical scale.

  • The temperature is 10 degrees below zero.
  • The Dead Sea is below sea level.
  • She is below average in intelligence.


We prefer under when something is covered or hidden by what is over it.

  • I think the cat is under the bed.
  • The whole village was under water.

We usually use under, not below, to mean less than or younger than.

  • There were under fifty people at the meeting.
  • You cannot see this film if you are under 18.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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