When it comes time to refer to an email that can be found later on in a document, should you say “email below” or “below email?” For some people, they may see no difference at all, but rest assured, there is one.
In this post, we’ll talk about which of these phrases is correct and why, as well as whether “email below” or “below email” is used more frequently in common vernacular.
Email Below or Below Email – Which Is Correct?
The correct phrase to use is “the email below.” Because “below” is not an adjective, you cannot use it to modify a noun, and thus cannot say “the below email” without being grammatically incorrect. Therefore, you should always say “the email below” not “the below email.”
This is true whenever you are referring to the email below the sentence in which you mention it. Generally speaking, this only comes up if you need to reference something that came up in an email, and have attached it to a message for everyone to see.
Of course, it’s also only appropriate to say “the email below” if the email in question is actually below the sentence in which you say this. If it is placed elsewhere in the document, say, above the sentence referencing it, obviously you would say “the email above.”
This is the proper phrase to use when referring to an email that is lower in a document than the sentence you are referencing in. This is because the word “below” is an adverb, not an adjective. If you remember some basic English lessons, adverbs cannot be used to modify nouns.
The reason you can put “below” after “email” and not before it is because of the full implication of the phrase. What you are really saying is “the email that is below.” The act of “being” in a particular location is an action, which is why an adverb can be used after the word “email” but not before.
Of course, examples always make things much clearer, so here are a few to give you a good understanding of how you would use “email below” in a sentence:
- In order to learn about this semester’s earnings, please see the email below.
- The email below contains all of the information you will need for this course.
- You can find the entirety of the conversation between Jim and myself in the email below.
- Please refer to the email below to get the notes on the lesson you missed yesterday.
- The contents of the email below should get you up to speed on our last meeting.
You may feel inclined to say “please see the below email” when referring to an email that is after that sentence. However, while this may sound acceptable on the surface, it is not grammatically correct to do so. “Below” is an adverb, not an adjective. It shouldn’t be used to modify a noun, like “email.”
That said, even though it’s incorrect, you’re likely to see this wording often, because most people don’t know that it is technically wrong. However, “the below email” is unlikely to be criticized by anyone, as they will almost certainly know what you mean and probably don’t know the difference anyway.
This means you could still say it without immediately being judged for not knowing proper English, just because most other people won’t know it isn’t proper English either. But make no mistake, it is improper, and if you want to be correct when it comes to grammar, you shouldn’t “below email.”
Taking that into consideration, we are still going to offer up some example sentences, but keep in mind that they are all technically incorrect:
- Incorrect: You can find the details of the project in the below email.
- Incorrect: Please see the below email to read the statistics from last quarter.
- Incorrect: The below email contains many graphs and tables about our profits.
You may also like: Is It Correct to Say “Please See Below Email”?
Which Is Used the Most?
As you can see in this graph from Google’s Ngram Viewer, the phrase “email below” is used roughly six times more often in modern English than the phrase “below email.” This goes to show that “email below” is the phrase that most people consider to sound more natural and correct.
This is not to say that “below email” is never used, but there is something to be said about how much less it is used compared to “email below.” Clearly, there aren’t many people predisposed to saying “below email” for whatever reason.
Being both uncommon and grammatically incorrect, you’d be better off not saying “below email” as opposed to “email below.” Most people probably won’t condemn you either way, but if you know the right way to do something, there isn’t much point in intentionally doing it the wrong way.
The phrase “email below” is grammatically correct and should be used when a sentence refers to an email that is below it. The phrase “below email” is grammatically incorrect and much less commonly used, and should be avoided if one wants to utilize proper English when communicating.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.