I frequently see statements that refer to something later in the text that use a phrase such as "the below information". Is it more correct instead to say "the information below" (or "the following information")?
As a preposition, "below" would be written after "information" as a stranded preposition. While typically prepositions would precede the noun, stranded prepositions can occur "in interrogative or relative clauses, where the interrogative or relative pronoun that is the preposition's complement is moved to the start".
We see such a stranded preposition in the case of "the information below," and therefore the preposition follows it. By contrast, in the case of "the following information", an adjective is used to describe the noun and therefore may precede it.
In short, "the below information" is not generally accepted to be correct, because "below" is not universally acknowledged as an adjective. Nevertheless, some dictionaries specifically list this as an exception.
An Ngram reveals which is more common...
Merriam-Webster lists a relevant definition:
below (adjective): written or discussed lower on the same page or on a following page
Given this, there is nothing wrong with “the below information”.
"He lives on the below floor" or "He lives on the floor below"? -- If not grammar, at least usage is against the first mentioned way of saying it.
The fact that the dictionary lists the word 'below' as an adjective doesn't mean it's correct. Dictionaries are a reflection of usage, both correct and incorrect. The reason that the word 'below' may be listed as an adjective reflects the overwhealming incorrect usage of the word. To make proper use of a language, one shoud use forms that have always been deemed correct and not use incorrect forms that have become the norm. Why 'dumb down' our language?
Usage of the former is often seen in a corporate communication when the author wishes to add a degree of formality or authority to the explanation. For example, 'see data in the below table'. Ironic, really, as instead of adding gravitas it results in the author sounding generic and bland.
Personally, I think it sounds unnatural, and forced, as it is rarely used in speech. You'd never, for example, respond to a query as to where a physical item was in relation to another by saying it 'is on the below shelf'.
One of those phrases used in a corporate context that doesn't exist in real life.
protected by tchrist♦ Aug 13 '14 at 14:34
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