Difference between 'under', below', 'beneath' and 'underneath'


In English, there are many words which almost have same meanings with little difference in them. Some of these words are 'under', below', 'beneath' and 'underneath' which sound almost similar but are not the same. However, there is no exact difference between these words, but the meaning changes according to the usage.


Among these words, under and below are mostly the commonly used words. Whereas, beneath and underneath are least used words. Let us see the difference between these words.

1. Under

Under is used to talk about something which is covered by something else. It can be used when discussing about layers of something, for numbers, age and also for showing a specific expression.

Dolphin resides under the sea.

He hid his mobile under the blanket.
This building is under construction since last year.
I completed this activity under 7 hours.
You are under arrest. In this sentence we can’t use ‘below’ instead of ‘under’

2. Below

Below is used to talk about something which is at a lower position or level. Mostly, we use it while writing formal emails and letters.

Please kindly find the below attached file.

In Leh and Ladakh, the temperature always dips below 0°c.

3. Beneath

Beneath is used in formal language, although it’s meaning is same as under. It also indicates something covered by something else or even in the case where something is lacking behind in certain aspects. Beneath, when used while discussing about people or things, means they very negative and they are too low with your social position.

In an emergency water landing, you will find a floating device beneath your seat cushion.

Some people act like as if they are special, like we are all beneath them.

4. Underneath

Underneath is  a casual version of under. It can be used instead of under while giving a little more emphasis for describing a place.

I have kept that paper underneath the sofa.

She always seems so cold, but I know she has a soft-heart underneath.

Hope the difference between ‘Under’, ‘Below’, ‘Beneath’ and ‘Underneath’ is clear with its appropriate usage in a sentence. To learn and understand more on various topics having similar meanings, browse through our blog site. Our blogs on different categories will enhance your English Grammar, along with its usage and vocabulary skills. You can even join our free online English tutorials, to polish your spoken English Skills.

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