Main Difference – Beneath vs Underneath
Beneath and underneath are two prepositions that have a similar meaning. Both have similar meanings as below and under. However, beneath is considered to be more formal than below, under and underneath. In addition, beneath can be used to indicate that someone has a low position, rank than another. This is the main difference between beneath and underneath.
Beneath – Meaning and Usage
Beneath is a preposition and an adverb that conveys a similar meaning to below and under. But it is generally considered to be more formal than them. As a preposition, beneath can mean directly under or in or to a lower position.
There is a cellar beneath the house.
The town beneath the mountain suffered the most losses.
Her poodle always hides beneath the sofa when she has visitors.
Her eyes were beginning to get dark shadows beneath them.
Beneath his rough, crude exterior lies a rather soft heart.
Miriam is in love with a man who is rather beneath her.
The above sentences use beneath as a preposition. In the last example, beneath is used to indicate an inferior or lower status. This is a unique meaning of beneath when compared to underneath. Now let’s see how beneath is used as an adverb.
Everyone saw his rough exterior; no one saw the kindness beneath.
They made an air hole to allow air to circulate beneath.
Underneath – Meaning and Usage
Underneath can be used as a preposition, adverb, and a noun. Underneath also has a similar meaning to beneath, but it is less formal than it. Underneath can mean directly below or to be concealed by something. The noun underneath refers to the part or side of something facing towards the ground or the underside. The following examples will help you to understand the meaning and function of underneath as a preposition.
The ball rolled underneath the car.
She wore pants underneath her sari.
They exchanged money underneath the table.
She slipped the envelope underneath the door.
Her bedroom is right underneath the kitchen.
In the following sentences, underneath acts as an adverb and a noun.
The cracks in the paint revealed a bluish plaster underneath. (adverb)
The nail pierced the underneath of his foot. (noun)
Difference Between Beneath and Underneath
Beneath is more formal than underneath.
Underneath is less formal than beneath.
Beneath is a preposition and an adverb.
Underneath is a preposition, adverb, and a noun.
Beneath can mean directly under or in or to a lower position.
Underneath can mean directly below or to be concealed by something.
Beneath can also imply that someone is of low status or worth than another.
Underneath cannot be used to talk about a low status.