In my another post (What prepositions could be used to describe the position relevant to water?) I said

"Under" could only be used with "water".

I meant that other prepositions, such as "below, underneath, beneath", could not be used with "water".

Does the quotation clearly convey what I was trying to say?

Is it idiomatic to use that expression?

1 Answer 1


No, it does not quite get the meaning you want.

"Under" could only be used with "water."

The way you have your sentence means that there is a limitation of the word "under." That is, the only place you could use "under" would be with "water." That is, you are saying you can't use "under penalty of law" or "under duress" or "under budget."

You might try this.

Only "under" could be used with "water."

Or possibly this.

Of the prepositions "below," "under," and "beneath," only "under" could be used with "water."

However, this statement is not really true. It is quite reasonable to say "beneath water" or "below water."

  • 2
    Yep, you've pretty much written exactly what I was going to write. Have an upvote
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 13:52
  • 5
    While it's reasonable to say "beneath water" or "below water," I don't think I have ever heard or seen either until just now. I would not consider those phrases to be idiomatic; if I heard either of them I'd certainly do a double-take.
    – JakeRobb
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 21:25
  • 2
    Heh. They sure appears in movie titles. imdb.com/title/tt3517230 imdb.com/title/tt11156108
    – puppetsock
    Commented Mar 10, 2020 at 21:39
  • 1
    Or UNDP Goal 14: "Life below water." undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/… Commented Mar 11, 2020 at 6:34
  • 2
    underwater has the idiomatic quality of meaning "completely submerged in water" or "under [the surface of the] water", whereas "beneath water" or "below water" conjure the image someone somehow below/beneath a body of water, but not actually in the water
    – Mike S
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 13:53

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