I wrote this question

  1. I would like to know what to call the rhythmic style of below pattern.

That "below" refers to a picture that follows.

Someone corrected the sentence to read

  1. I would like to know what to call the rhythmic style of the below pattern.

To my (non-native) ears, my version sounds good, whereas the corrected version sounds somewhat unfamiliar. However if I change the position of "the", it sounds familiar again:

  1. I would like to know what to call the rhythmic style of the pattern below.

So which of the 3 versions are proper English?

According to this and this, 3 would be preferable to 2, which matches what I was thinking.

But what about 1.? Is that not good English?

2 Answers 2


Only version 3 can be found in Google books Ngram Viewer, so that would make that the most (only?) common variant of the three:

enter image description here


"Pattern" is a count noun here, and you need the definite article to lead a noun phrase that centers on "pattern" (with that word being the head of the noun phrase).

As for using "below" in conjunction with a noun phrase, it usually comes after the noun phrase. The reasons are varied and inconclusive, but the general consensus is you can say "the picture above" or "the above picture", but you have to say "the picture below", but rarely if ever "the below picture".

  • Thanks Eddie. So with a mass noun, variant 1 would be okay? E.g. "... of below furniture" (You would however still be able to say "of the furniture below", I guess) Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 6:22
  • @EvgeniyBerezovsky Well, not really. Since you are specifying the thing you are referring to with "below", it is specific reference, rather than generic reference, so you need the definite article (in most cases). But it'd be a different story without "below" and in a case of generic reference.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 6:30
  • Then the question whether it is a "count noun" or not is not central to my problem, I guess. Rather the question of "specific reference". Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 8:20
  • @EvgeniyBerezovsky Well, actually, I'm afraid it's not that simple. I'd say both factors are relevant. This has been discussed repeatedly on this site, by many contributors. I also have written longer answers discussing the use of the definite article in detail. Here I explained it with countability because it's simplest and most straightforward. Check out Colin Fine's answer here.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 17:47

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