LifeDeath wrote:So, what is the difference between "under", "underneath" and "beneath"?
has a literary feel. As a preposition, it sounds most natural to me with abstracts, e.g. "beneath contempt", "beneath the notice of politicians", etc. You can't substitute "under(neath)" here without it sounding very odd. As an adverb, I would call it poetic. A recent horror film was called What Lies Beneath
, and the name has a definite pre-modern supernatural ring to it.
I'm having difficulty saying when I might prefer underneath
in prepositional use. They're basically synonymous, with under
being used far more often because it's shorter. Although under
can be used adverbially, especially with verbs (e.g. "If you can't jump over it, go under!"), underneath
is preferable when there's the notion of covering completely (e.g. "When I moved the newspapers, I found worms underneath") or of the underside of something (e.g. "She is mostly jet black, but pure white underneath"). Underneath
can also be used as a noun meaning "underside", which is not possible with under
(e.g. "the ugly underneath").
Does that help?
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons