below vs. under?

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below vs. under?

Post by azz » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:34 pm

a. Under
b. Below
c. Beneath
d. Underneath


Which of these necessarily means directly under in such a way that a vertical line can connect the two objects?

We do say 'below sea level', but not 'under sea level'.
Could one say 'The city was below the hills'?
Could one say: 'The city was spread out below the hills'?
Could one say: 'We were standing below the mountains'?
Could one say: 'Romeo was standing below Juliet's window'? (My feeling is that here we need 'under' because he is directly under it')

My theory is that when we say 'under' we mean that a vertical line can be drawn connecting the two things. Would you say that is correct?

When something is under something else, it is also below it, but the converse doesn't work. Is that correct?
How about 'beneath' and 'underneath'?

Many thanks.
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Re: below vs. under?

Post by BonnieL » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:50 pm

azz wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:34 pm

When something is under something else, it is also below it, but the converse doesn't work. Is that correct?
Not necessarily. I still remember reading a news article that described Ted Kennedy (at a party) as wearing nothing "under" his shirt. That confused me (since when is not wearing an undershirt scandalous?) until I read further in the article & found out he wasn't wearing pants. So the first description should have been that he was wearing nothing "below" his shirt. Tho that doesn't sound quite right either - just "not wearing pants" would have been more to the point.
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