Above, over, below, under

1. When we say that one thing is at a higher level than another, we can use either above or over.

  • The name board was above/over the door.
  • Above/over each of the generators was a warning sign which said, ‘no naked flames’.

However, if one thing is directly over the other, we usually use above not over.

2. We use over, not above when we say that something covers something else and is in contact with it.

  • He placed a big blanked over the fire.

3. Below is the opposite of above; under is the opposite of over. The differences in the use of below and under are similar to those between above and over. Look at the following examples:

  • It’s hard to believe that there is a railway line below/under the building.
  • Her head was below the level of the counter and the shop assistant didn’t notice her.
  • I was so hot, I stood under the cold shower for ten minutes
  • she hid the presents under a blanket. (the presents and the blankets are in contact)

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