6

A colleague of mine wrote the following sentence:

I have worked on the below mentioned issues:

Now, I'm not a native speaker, and certainly not an authority on grammar. I construct sentences based on what I can only describe as intuition (what sounds right based on what I've previously read/ heard.)

I told him below mentioned issues didn't sound right and I thought it should be issues mentioned below instead.

His counter:

  • He was reluctant to end with a prespostion.
  • If above mentioned is valid, below mentioned should be, too.

I don't subscribe to the notion that prepositions can't end a sentence. But I didn't wan't a debate about that. I replied:

  • The phrase which the preposition governs goes without saying (as in, mentioned below/above this sentence)
  • above mentioned isn't really two words. It's a one-word adjective.

He was satisfied, but he insisted he had seen it being written as two words.

Later, out of curiosity, I did an ngram search, which shows that above mentioned as two separate words is indeed frequent. More so than above-mentioned until 1935, and still in 2nd place, outranking abovementioned. I assumed people using it as an adjective were more likely to drop the hyphen than use two words. Apparently I was wrong.

I suppose the frequency of above mentioned could be padded by sentences like this:

The people (who live) above mentioned seeing him.

But the same should be true for below mentioned, which is virtually non-existent according to the ngram

Hence my question:

Is above mentioned issues grammatical? Is below mentioned issues? What are the rules behind this?

3

With regard to your friend's original statement, "below-mentioned" is a poor choice because "the issues" have not yet been mentioned. In other words, they are still pending statements...the below-as-yet-unmentioned issues? "The following issues" is more correct in both grammar and context. Or, quite simply, "the below issues".

Above-mentioned is indeed a single adjective or adjective phrase, whether it has found itself commonly constructed with hyphen, space, or neither. Unfortunately (for the sake of your argument), this is unlikely to have an impact on whether "below-mentioned" is a valid construction, since we happily make adjectives out of whatever parts of speech we want.

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  • Thanks. Accepted for the "below-as-yet-unmentioned issues" argument – Tushar Raj Apr 20 '15 at 18:32
1

It's either above-mentioned (UK and older US usage) or abovementioned (US). As a compound premodifier, it should not have a space. Undermentioned also serves the same purpose as below-mentioned, although neither of them is particularly pleasant to the ear or the eye. Hereinafter can also be used (mentioned hereinafter).

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