While filling in a form on Net:

Down / below / down below the entries you will see a submit sign.

Down usually means: towards a lower position.

And, Below usually means: at a lower position.

So I use "below" here, But I have heard some speakers use "down" in this context.

Which of these is more appropriate to use?

Another confusion is using down \ below during election result announcement:

National party won 20 seats, only 1 down / below since last time.

Please explain.

2 Answers 2


"Below" gives a position relative to something; "down" gives a direction on or in something. Sometimes they are interchangeable, but often not.

"Down the entries" would mean "in a direction moving downward through the entries": it could not designate a position below the entries.

"Down below" is not really any different from "below".

In your last example, the normal form is

20 seats, 3 down from last time. (or "down 3 from last time")

You could say

down from last time


below last time's figure

or even

3 below last time's figure.

but in this sense "below" needs an object: "below" without an object means "below here" or "below the place I was just talking about"; whereas "down" without an object means "in a downward direction".

  • Could you give me other examples with "down from" May 21, 2019 at 14:01
  • I'm afraid that I'm still confused. May 21, 2019 at 14:05

You've basically understood it right.

Down is a direction.
Below is a relative position.

They are not therefore interchangeable, as you cannot legitimately use "below" without naming another relative item.

"Down below" is just an idiom, some people do say it in the kind of context you are asking about but it is not necessary and something of a tautology. Also, in isolation, it can be a euphemism for genitals.

Your examples then should be:

Below the entries you will see a submit sign.


National party won 20 seats, only 1 down from last time.

This last example is also idiomatically used, as grammatically speaking it ought to be "one fewer than", as "seats" is a plural, countable noun. Despite that, however, counts of things are often spoken of as going "up" or "down" in comparison to previous counts, so your example sounds natural.

  • There's nothing grammatically wrong with "1 down from". The rule you are referring to is about less vs fewer (and is bogus. Kamm says in Accidence Will Happen "it was dreamed up by an eighteenth-centrury grammarian without any warrant in usage")
    – Colin Fine
    May 21, 2019 at 13:14
  • @ColinFine Everything in our language was dreamed up by someone, and as it has been taught in public schools for the subsequent centuries and observed by writers I'd hardly call it "bogus". Still, my mentioning it was meant as an aside, as I did say that "1 down from" was idiomatic. I have tweaked this slightly to make that point clearer.
    – Astralbee
    May 22, 2019 at 9:37
  • no, most things in language just happened, they weren't dreamed up by anybody. But this is even more of an aside.
    – Colin Fine
    May 22, 2019 at 15:14

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