4

What is the difference between the below two questions? And please explain to me the use cases for both.

  • Which of the following is correct?

  • Which of the below is correct?

6

In the first sentence, the following is used as a noun.

EDIT: However, the most accepted use of below is as an adverb. (Up until today, I thought that it could function as an adjective, please see the comments below).

So in order for the second sentence to be grammatically correct, you would need to say,

Which of the sentences below is correct?

With the grammatical change, there is no difference in meaning, and either sentence could be used.

  • 6
    Below is not an adjective, so cannot be used to modify a noun in that way. It can, however, function as an adverb, as in Which of the sentences below are correct? – Barrie England Mar 27 '13 at 18:38
  • 1
    @Barrie England Interesting, I hear the phrase so often that I took below to be an accepted adjective. There is an interesting blog post about this topic here: grammarphobia.com/blog/2012/12/below.html – Trish Rempel Mar 27 '13 at 18:43
  • 2
    @Barrie England I also found an EL&U discussion about this; please feel free to post your comment as an answer, and I will leave my answer here so others may learn something, as I have :-) english.stackexchange.com/questions/609/… – Trish Rempel Mar 27 '13 at 18:51
  • @TrishRempel thanks for the link. I didn't know 'below' can function as an adjective. The dictionary is only listing it as an adverb or preposition. I also noticed a note on that blog that this usage (as an adjective) is not accepted by all. See here: 'But The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.) doesn’t recognize the use of “below” as an adjective' – EnglishLearner Mar 27 '13 at 18:59
  • Thank you everyone for your comments; I edited my answer accordingly. – Trish Rempel Mar 27 '13 at 19:19

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