Why is the phrase "under the sea" constructed the way it is? Shouldn't it be "in the sea?" Does "sea" refer to the surface of the ocean in this case? Or is it just one of those quirks in English?

  • Resource: english.stackexchange.com/questions/955/…
    – WendiKidd
    Sep 4, 2016 at 3:07
  • 2
    The sea is just a large body of water. It could be ocean, lake, etc. and your question would be the same. The real issue is under vs. in vs. on vs. into, etc. The reference is usually in relation to the water surface. Adding some example sentences to your question would be helpful, as context is often important when deciding on the correct preposition.
    – user3169
    Sep 4, 2016 at 3:47
  • I have closed this as a duplicate of a more recent question because it is a subset of that question. I think it makes sense to collect all the answers in one place even though this question currently has a higher score.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 7, 2017 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


Under is used to refer to something below a surface:

Macmillan dictionary has:

e. below the surface of water:
The ducks kept diving under the water to catch fish.
He was the first person to claim there was oil under the North Sea. She jumped in the pool and went under.

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