Hello Teachers,

1.She put a letter -------- her pillow.(under/below).

I think both are correct. What is your opinio?

2.The railway line runs ---------- the river and the road. (along/over).

are the both choices are correct?

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Comments  (Page 2) 
Furthermore, we wouldn't say "she kept it below her pillow" either.

I don't understand the vertical stack/horizontal plane distinction - it seems to me that it is below that rather suggests some kind of closer connection in a vertical way - as in the example provided.

Can't we say "in the area below that" when pointing at a chart or a map, even if the areas are adjoining?

Perhaps the real difference between the two words is that below has an air of vertical spatial precision (less suitable for a swooping aircraft) which also brings an air of academic formality (unsuitable for pillows)?




According to the vertical stack/horizontal plane distinction that we are considering, all of the B's are below the A, but only the C's are under the A. I think in this case I would consider another possibility - "directly below" as interchangable with "under." What do you think?

Your map illustration does seem to confound this theory - yes, I would say that South Dakota is below, rather than under, North Dakota, although obviously they occupy the same horizontal plane, at least if the map is lying flat rather than hanging on a wall. I don't think I would change my language if the map were suddenly posted on the wall. (Ooops - South Dakota used to be below North Dakota, but now it's under North Dakota!! Or wait - it is the other way around?) I'm still thinking about the idea that "below" sounds more formal than "under." I guess my tentative conclusion is that the vertical stack/horizontal plane distinction works in many situations, but there must be several other distinctions that can also apply.
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But as I said, I think it is "below" which sounds more direct. If you have a very small object under a larger one, then you say "under". You would say "the mouse is under the table, directly below the coffee cup".

Reverse it and it sounds like the mouse is squished. Hmmmmm.
I take 'under X' as 'at a position covered by X' and 'below X' as 'at a position lower than X'.
The cat lay under the table.
The ancient city lay partly below the water table.

Yes, I suppose so, that would cover the vertical plane thing as well.
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Thank you, Paco! I think your explanation is good - it's much simpler than mine and seems to work just as well. (y) --khoff
I recently read that the dynamic "under" should be considered separately from the static, so maybe JTT was correct too.
That's an interesting thought. Cf.

go below = 'descend to the lower decks'

go under = 'sink below water level' (stative?)

go under = 'travel underneath', as in 'go under the bridge' (dynamic?)

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