Word Choice: Below vs. Bellow
  • 2-minute read
  • 19th December 2021

Word Choice: Below vs. Bellow

​​English can be a difficult language because even the most minor spelling differences can drastically change the meaning of a word. Such is the case with the words “below” and “bellow.” In this post, we’ll explain the difference so that you always know which to use in your writing.

Below (At a Lower Level)      

“Below” can be used as a preposition or an adverb that refers to being at a lower level or layer than something else. For example:

The sun set below the horizon.

The river ran below the bridge.

It can also mean lower in rank, degree, amount, or rate:

The temperature has been below zero all week.

“Below,” is always spelled with one “l.”

Bellow (Roar or Shout)

“Bellow” is a verb meaning to emit a deep, loud roar or to shout in a powerful voice:

The lion fiercely bellowed to warn the intruder to stay away.

The sergeant was bellowing orders.

As a noun, meanwhile, “bellow” means a deep roaring shout or sound:

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The elephant let out a mighty bellow.

More rarely, you may also see the word “bellows” used as a noun to refer to a tool that is used to blow air on a fire to make it burn more strongly:

     The campers used bellows to increase the temperature of the fire.

In whichever form it is used, the correct spelling is with a double “l.”

Summary: Below or Bellow?

Although these words have almost identical spellings, they have significantly different meanings:

●  Below is a preposition or adverb that refers to being at a lower level, layer, or rank.

●  Bellow is a verb that means to shout or emit a deep, loud roar or a noun that either refers to a deep roaring shout or a tool used to strengthen fire.

If you struggle to tell these words apart, it might help to remember that “bellow(s)” and “yell(s),” which are synonyms, are both spelled with “ell.” So, in all other cases, you can use “below” spelled with one “l.”

Hopefully, this will help you avoid mixing up these words in your writing. And if you’d like more advice on your spelling or word choice, try our proofreading service by uploading a trial document for free today!

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