above - below
1. at a higher or lower elevation than another thing.
- The Global Positioning System is a network of 24 satellites 12,000 miles above the earth.
- That city is only 250 feet above sea level.
- The Netherlands are below sea level.
- I looked up and saw some birds flying above me.
- She held a lamp above her head.
- When the thief saw the police, he raised his hands above his head.
- Her portrait hung above his fireplace.
- Mary lives on the floor above me, but John lives on the floor below.
- The towers of the old castle rose above the trees.
- He had a tattoo above his right wrist.
- Standing on top of the mountain, he could see the village below.
2. in a higher or lower position of authority than another person
- A major is above a captain.
- A sergeant is below a captain.
3. higher or lower in amount or degree
- Our operating costs are way above normal.
- The students' SAT scores were well above average this year.
- Last year their SAT scores were below average.
- In order to be admitted to graduate school, students must have a GPA (grade point average) of 3.0 or above.
- His approval rating is above 60%.
- His approval rating has fallen below 70% for the first time since January.
- Unemployment was above 6% in 1994.
4. higher or lower than zero when speaking of temperatures (the word zero is often omitted)
- The record temperature for our state is 48 degrees below zero.
- It was only 25 above today. (25 degrees above zero)
- It was ten below last night. (10 degrees below zero)
5. above all means more than anything else
- Americans value freedom above all.
- He was, above all else, a gentleman.
6. mentioned earlier or later in a piece of writing
- For an explanation, see below.
- The report mentioned above was published in 1987.
- Mr. Joshua Samuels, pictured above, founded the company in 1888. (His picture appears earlier in the text or toward the top of the page.)
Above is also used as a noun in this sense:
- None of the above (an option on a multiple-choice test indicating that none of the preceding answers is correct)
- Students are required to write a report on one of the above. (instructions on a teacher's reading list indicating one of the books previously mentioned)
7. above is used is some special senses:
a. not subject to
- He is above suspicion. (People do not consider him capable of doing something wrong.)
b. too good or noble to do something bad
- He is above such tactics. (His character is too good to permit him to do such things.)
c. not too proud to do something (used with not)
- He is not above asking for help.
d. in preference to
- My boss favors certain employees above others.
8. above and beyond is an idiomatic expression which means in addition to, or more than normal
- I will have to spend $5,000 above and beyond the $12,000 I have already spent to finish remodeling the house.
- The soldier's actions went above and beyond the call of duty. (He did something that was more heroic than what was expected of him.)
over - under
1. Above and below indicate only a higher or lower position, while over and under usually indicate higher or lower in a straight line. Look at the diagram.
A, B, and C are above X.
B is over X.
2. Above and below indicate a higher or lower position of authority in general, whereas over and under indicate immediate authority (that the person has the power to order the other person).
For example, a major is above a captain, but a major in the U.S. army is not over a captain in the Canadian army. American officers are over/under American soldiers, and Canadian officers are over/under Canadian soldiers.
3. over is used to mean more than
4. over is commonly used to mean during
5. over is used to mean while having a meal or a drink
6. over is used to mean spanning, crossing, or moving across
7. over is used for crossing land, mountains, etc.
8. over or all over can mean in many different areas
9. over is used to mean on (a person or thing)
10. Just as over can mean more than, under can mean less than.
11.over and above means in addition to
12.over and over means again and again, many times, repeatedly
13. under can mean below the surface of something
14. under is often used in the sense of according to the provisions of (an agreement, law, etc.)
15. under can mean in a category or heading, or using a name
16. under can mean affected by