English Prepositions: BELOW & UNDER

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Learn English with Alex [engVid]
Published at : 02 Dec 2020
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Prepositions are hard to master in English. In this lesson, I talk about two very similar prepositions that often cause problems for English learners: "below" and "under". Should you say "He's below 21 years old" or "He's under 21 years old"? Are there situations where you can use both prepositions with no difference in meaning? The answer to the second question is YES, but there are situations where you must choose one or the other. To learn more about the similarities and differences between below and under, watch the video, then do the quiz at https://www.engvid.com/english-prepositions-below-under/ to check your understanding. I hope your score won't be below average!

TRANSCRIPT

Hey. Am I under the board or am I below the board, or am I both? Okay, there we go. Hey, everyone. I'm Alex. Thanks for clicking and welcome to this lesson on two very tricky prepositions, and those are: "below" and "under". So, we are going to look at the meanings of these prepositions and we're going to look at some examples, some contexts so that you can better understand and more confidently use them when you're talking about the physical position of something, or maybe not necessarily even the physical position of something, but if you're measuring something, for example.

So, when I started the video, I asked: Am I below the board or am I under the board? Well, it's actually both. So, "below" and "under" can both simply mean lower than. So: "Hey, where is the..." whatever it is. -"Where's my mug? Where's my cup?" -"Oh, it's... It's below the cabinet." Or: "Oh, it's under the cabinet." Okay? So, basically if the cabinet is up here and your mug is here, or here, or here, or here - it's below the cabinet or it's under the cabinet, just lower than the cabinet. Same with: "It's under the sink." Okay? "It's under the sink" or "below the sink", it just means lower than. All right? And here I have Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service, those of you who watch anime and know who Hayao Miyazaki is. So, she is flying on a broom and she's flying over a city. The city is under her. The city is below her. It's lower than her, because she's in the air. Right? Okay. And she might be, like, flying over clouds, so the clouds could be below her or under her as well.

Next, let's look at "below". Some... Two specific instances where you must use "below", so for example, not directly under. So if something, like I said, is... If you have something here like a shelf, and you have an object here, like this marker, for example, the marker is not, you know, directly under the shelf, so we say it's below. So, for example: "We stopped 100 meters below the top of the mountain." If we're climbing the mountain and then we stop to take a break, maybe there's a cabin where you can go in, have some hot chocolate, prepare to climb the rest of the mountain, you can say: "Oh, we stopped 100 meters below the top of the mountain." You're not under the mountain. Right? You're on the mountain, and you're below the top of it.

Next, for measurements. Now, you must use "below" when you're talking about measurements. So, for example: "It's 5 below 0." So if you're talking about degrees Celsius, or... Well, not in Fahrenheit. Degrees Celsius, basically, you can say: "It's 5 below 0." Not: "5 under 0.", "5 below 0." Another example: "We are at 150 feet below sea level." If you're talking about someone's scores in their class, you can say: "Her grades" or "His grades are below average." Or you can perform below expectations-right?-if you're measuring performance, for example.

Next, for "under", basically if anything is covered, it, you know... You have to use "under". So, for example: "The cat is under the bed." Right? So he's under the bed, he's covered. Or with a blanket, for example, if a blanket is covering you, you are under the blanket. I am wearing a t-shirt under my jacket, under my blazer. Okay? Because the t-shirt is covered, so my t-shirt is under my jacket, under my blazer.

And finally: "under" can be used as a synonym for "less than". So, for example: "He's under 18." Under 18 years old. He's less than 18 years old. "There were under 5 people at the office today." So, there were less than 5 people at the office today.

All right, so let's do some quick practice. I have a grammar book. I have a novel that I'm reading right here. Where is the grammar book? Well, my grammar book is under my novel. Right? Because it's touching directly, so it's directly under. Okay? Now, where is my grammar book? My grammar book is under the novel. It's also below the novel, because it is lower than the novel. All right? So, just to give you another concrete example of how to use these two very tough prepositions.

So I don't want to complicate it, so I'll just repeat it one more time. Lower than, "below" or "under". Not directly under, use "below", like if you're climbing a mountain, for example. […]
below or underbelow underprepositions

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