'See the above/below picture' or 'see the picture above/below'

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thomap

New Member
Vietnamese
Could you please tell me which ones of the following sentences are correct/incorrect? Thank you very much!

1. Please see the above picture.
2. Please see the picture above.
3. Please see the below picture.
4. Please see the picture below.

My attempt: 1, 2 & 4 are correct; 3 is incorrect.
 
  • Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If 1 is correct, then 3 is correct.

    In my technical documentation I use all 4 forms thus:

    1. In the above picture.
    2. Please see the picture above.
    3. In the below picture.
    4. Please see the picture below.

    Does that help?
     

    thomap

    New Member
    Vietnamese
    Yes, it does. Thank you very much both of you! It's just because I thought 'below' was not an adjective and thus could not go between the article and the noun.
     

    Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, it does. Thank you very much both of you! It's just because I thought 'below' was not an adjective and thus could not go between the article and the noun.
    To be clear, "below/above", being an adverb, should strictly have an associated verb.

    But usage has contracted this. So "In the below picture" is a convenient form of "in the picture illustrated below".
     

    thomap

    New Member
    Vietnamese
    To be clear, "below/above", being an adverb, should strictly have an associated verb.

    But usage has contracted this. So "In the below picture" is a convenient form of "in the picture illustrated below".
    Wow I haven't noticed this before! Thank you very much for your very clear explanation! :)
     

    Grumpy Old Man

    Senior Member
    Could you please tell me which ones of the following sentences are correct/incorrect? Thank you very much!

    1. Please see the above picture.
    2. Please see the picture above.
    3. Please see the below picture.
    4. Please see the picture below.

    My attempt: 1, 2 & 4 are correct; 3 is incorrect.
    You are right. If English were a little more logical, 3 would also be correct. However, below cannot be used as an adjective.
     

    kritika

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi & English



    Hey,

    What is the conclusion of this discussion?

    Is 'Please see the below picture' correct or not?

    Thanks!
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Hey,

    What is the conclusion of this discussion?

    Is 'Please see the below picture' correct or not?

    Thanks!
    It is not correct. Please see post 7.

    Also, "Hey" is a rude form of address in most circles. It is acceptable in informal speech among close friends when you want to get someone's attention, but not in writing. Many people are offended at being addressed this way, since it implies that (a) they are not giving you enough attention, and (b) you are their superior, so you can order them to give you more attention.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    Although "the above/below picture" might be sanctioned by usage, it sounds terrible to me, and I would not use it myself. The Columbia Guide to Standard American Usage says,

    "There's nothing wrong with the above address, the statement above, and the like, except perhaps for a bit of stiffness, especially when repeated as formulas. But make sure that both adjectival and noun uses are appropriate to the context, and be aware that Edited English dislikes them for their imprecision."

    The American Heritage Dictionary, which has a panel of people that it considers to be experts on American style and usage, says,

    "The use of above as an adjective or noun in referring to a preceding text is most common in business and legal writing. In general writing its use as an adjective (the above figure) is accepted by a majority of the Usage Panel, but its use as a noun (read the above) is accepted by only a minority."
     

    Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In addition to what I say in post #5, above/below are also prepositions. In which case they can precede a noun. Thus "please see the below picture" is correct.
     
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    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In addition to what I say in post #5, above/below are also propositions. In which case they can precede a noun. Thus "please see the below picture" is correct.
    It may be correct in theory, but I doubt many native speakers would write it. Google searches for "the below picture" and "the picture below" turn up over 100 times as many hits for the latter as for the former. While I am fully aware of relying on Google search popularity as a guide to correct English, when there's a difference of over 100:1, we can conclude something about current usage.
     

    Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It may be correct in theory, but I doubt many native speakers would write it. Google searches for "the below picture" and "the picture below" turn up over 100 times as many hits for the latter as for the former. While I am fully aware of relying on Google search popularity as a guide to correct English, when there's a difference of over 100:1, we can conclude something about current usage.
    I'd put it a different way. "The below picture" had 2.4 million Google hits. So "the below picture" is widely used but less widely so than "the picture below". That ratio in no way invalidates the use of "below" preceding the noun in the sense of being a preposition.
     
    In addition to what I say in post #5, above/below are also prepositions. In which case they can precede a noun. Thus "please see the below picture" is correct.
    I have a very small inquiry here. As far as I know that above and below are used to express about the degrees of temperature. However, under and down are not used. Thus, I have been wondering when I see those two prepositions are being used to express about the location of picture
    For instance, Today's temperature is 7 degrees below/ above zero.

    I would like to respectfully confirm that for me.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Whaaa? "Please see the below picture" is absolutely not okay. ("Please see Figure 3 below" is the best compromise, in my opinion.) And "below" in that sentence is absolutely not a preposition! If it were a preposition, it couldn't be preceded by an article.

    If "below" in that sentence really, really has to be a preposition, than I hope you know what that means. As a preposition, it's part of the prepositional phrase "below picture," meaning "located under picture." Then "the" has to be a noun, since there's nothing else to see in the sentence. I would submit that, for "below" to be a preposition, the sentence would need to be punctuated as follows:

    Please see 'the' below picture.

    It would then direct the reader's attention to the word "the" located somewhere underneath a picture. A more complete version of that sentence would be "Please see the 'the' below the picture." This is clearly not what anyone wants to say, right? (It reminds me of Gob Bluth's "Look at banner, Michael!")
     

    Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I disagree with lucas-sp. He may be unnecessarily complicating a simple question here. If the context is about the word "the" sitting positionally below the word "picture", so be it.

    If the context is about an actual picture sitting positionally below the sentence containing the construct "the below picture", so be that too. Nothing is wrong and the reader is content unless he/she wishes to delve into esoteric grammar. English is a beautifully triple jointed language and there is nothing wrong with saying "in the below picture".
     

    Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I have a very small inquiry here. As far as I know that above and below are used to express about the degrees of temperature. However, under and down are not used. Thus, I have been wondering when I see those two prepositions are being used to express about the location of picture
    For instance, Today's temperature is 7 degrees below/ above zero.

    I would like to respectfully confirm that for me.

    It could be valid to say that in this construct, "below/above" is an adverb because the number that it qualifies is the object of the verb "to be/is". But I still prefer the preposition definition for "above/below" in this case.

    But that doesn't answer your underlying question. First, "under" and "down" are not interchangeable. That can be confirmed by reference to a dictionary.

    So, regarding (e.g.) "below" vs "under", I put the difference down to usage. Other people's views would be interesting.
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Could you please tell me which ones of the following sentences are correct/incorrect? Thank you very much!

    1. Please see the above picture.
    2. Please see the picture above.
    3. Please see the below picture.
    4. Please see the picture below.

    My attempt: 1, 2 & 4 are correct; 3 is incorrect.
    Your attempt is correct. 1,2 and 4 make reference to a point that we here cannot see, however, reader with full context or the listener would be able to see it.

    In context, 2,& 4 can be suffixed by "this point." above and below are therefore prepositions.

    In 1. above works as an adjective.
    In 3. below attempts to work as an adjective, but doesn't because it can't, as it isn't; it is an adverb and preposition only. To work, it would have to be

    3. with the parenthetical "this point" - Please see the picture below this point/here."
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    In my opinion, "the below picture" is bad English. In other words, I don't think that "below" can be used as an attributive adjective. It can, however, be used as an adjective either predicatively:
    "The picture is below."
    or postpositively:
    "the picture below"

    No such restrictions apply to "above", which can be used as an adjective either attributively or postpositively.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I'd put it a different way. "The below picture" had 2.4 million Google hits. So "the below picture" is widely used but less widely so than "the picture below". That ratio in no way invalidates the use of "below" preceding the noun in the sense of being a preposition.
    One thing I learned early in my forum membership was how to deal with Google results -- so much of the Internet is duplicated that you need to ignore the raw figure you see and go to the bottom of the page and click through to the very last page and read the actual results. (I also see 939,000 for "the below picture," not 2.4 million, but that's not the point of the information below. Also, as you can see, this technique gives greater weight to your usage argument than the raw data.):

    On Google (a compilation of everybody's everything)

    "the below picture"
    About 939,000 results (0.24 seconds)
    In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 590 already displayed.

    "the picture below"
    About 115,000,000 results (0.19 seconds)
    In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 599 already displayed.

    Google News -- which I consider a better indicator because the results come from new sources rather than Bobby's Blog:

    "the picture below"
    About 127 results (0.14 seconds)

    "the below picture"
    10 results (0.12 seconds)

    I'm only offering this as search advice -- not as any grammatical justification for one or the other phrase. On a personal note, however, I would only use "the picture below."
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Just as an addendum to Copyright's point: normally the article "the" is suppressed in the phrase "see [image, picture, figure] below." If you do this on the google news, you find 281 results for "picture below." If you look for "below picture" (no article, again), there are still only 13 results. And at least two of those are not cases of "see below picture."

    I dunno, I feel now like I might have been justified in my knee-jerk response against "see below picture."
     

    Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In my opinion, "the below picture" is bad English. In other words, I don't think that "below" can be used as an attributive adjective. It can, however, be used as an adjective either predicatively:
    "The picture is below."
    or postpositively:
    "the picture below"

    No such restrictions apply to "above", which can be used as an adjective either attributively or postpositively.
    Would somone please enlighten me on the positional distinction claimed between "above" and "below"? Why does not the same rule apply to both of them? Exactly where are the grammatical rules in this context defined?
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I think Pertinax made the positional distinction rather clear: "below," in its career as a quasi-adjective, can be used predicatively or postpositively, but not attributively. "Above," as a full adjective, can be used in all three of these ways.

    "Above" and "below" are not the same because, for whatever vicissitudes of usage, "below" only gets to be an adverb and a preposition, while "above" has become an adverb, preposition, adjective, and noun! (Compare "See the above" to "See the below." Do you think the latter of those should be correct too? Hardly. Because we say "Please read the above" and "Please read the following"; in this case, "following" is the opposite of "above," not "below.")

    Is it logical? Clearly not, as the first "correct" answer in this thread (#7) pointed out. But that's probably because language isn't logical.
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    Would somone please enlighten me on the positional distinction claimed between "above" and "below"? Why does not the same rule apply to both of them? Exactly where are the grammatical rules in this context defined?
    For what it's worth, I looked this up in the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (p1555). Their terminology might need some explanation.

    They describe the postpositive adjective-like use of "above" or "below", as in:
    the picture above
    as a "preposition without a complement" (aka "intransitive preposition") being used as a noun-phrase modifier.

    They describe its noun-like use, as in:
    See the above.
    as an "adjective used as fused modifier-head".

    They describe the prenominal use of "above", as in:
    the above discussion
    as an "adjective used attributively".

    They state:
    We have "the room above" meaning "the room above a certain room, the one I'm in or one previously mentioned", but "the above room" cannot be interpreted in this way. Unlike "above", "below" has no special discourse-location use: it belongs only to the preposition category, so we have either the discussion below (location within this discourse), or the room below (ordinary spatial location), but not *the below discussion.

    The grammatical rulebook is not a bible. The rules are (or should be) merely reflective of common practice. I must admit that "the below picture" doesn't sound as bad to me as "the asleep child", and in view of its popularity on the net I wouldn't be surprised if "below" eventually gains an equal footing with "above". But for most of us, it's not there yet, and no amount of wishful thinking or appeal to logic can change that.
     

    Suspishio

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm certainly grateful to Pertinax for the trouble taken in researching the grammar behind the below/above discussion. I can't quarrel with it at all.

    The explanation does lean towards one of my propositions - namely that English is a triple-jointed language and that usage of "in the below picture" may gain equal footing with "above". There is no rule-based reason why this should not have already happened!
     
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    kritika

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi & English
    Also, "Hey" is a rude form of address in most circles. It is acceptable in informal speech among close friends when you want to get someone's attention, but not in writing. Many people are offended at being addressed this way, since it implies that (a) they are not giving you enough attention, and (b) you are their superior, so you can order them to give you more attention.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the suggestion, Egmont.
    I agree 'hey' is more informal, but definately not rude. Please accept my appologies if it sounded rude to you.
     

    semeeran

    Senior Member
    Indian Tamil, India
    1. Please read the below information and send your comments.
    2. Please read the information below and send your comments.
    I believe #2 is correct while #1 is incorrect.
    Is my observation OK or not?
    Thanks.
     
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