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The table below shows the discrepancies in calculations of the unit holding percentage between the A Trust unit register and the A Trust's 2020 income tax return.

or 

The following table shows the discrepancies in calculations of the unit holding percentage between the A Trust unit register and the A Trust's 2020 income tax return.

Which one is correct? and whether there is any difference in meaning?

 

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Hi, Tony,

Both "the table below" and "the following table" are correct. While "below" refers to the physical location of the table, "the following" refers to a sequence of elements, where some precede and others follow. In texts like the one you are dealing with, both options can be found, but using "below" (or "above") can be more accurate, and therefore more usual.

While "below" refers to the physical location of the table, "the following" refers to a sequence of elements, where some precede and others follow.

I think "the following table" allows for another interpretation, namely, "the table that follows," that is to say, "the table that comes after what you are reading right now." It need not be taken to imply, correctly or incorrectly, that there is a preceding table in the text.

On this forum, I have probably used the phrase "the following sentence/example" over ten thousand times in cases where there are no preceding examples. Each time I do, I simply mean "the sentence that follows." Similarly, sometimes academic essays begin with the phrase "In what follows."

Last edited by David, Moderator

I think "the following table" allows for another interpretation, namely, "the table that follows," that is to say, "the table that comes after what you are reading right now."

Definitely, David. Where I said that "the following table" is used to refer to a sequence, I did not say that what precedes it may not be just text instead of another table, in which case it will be equivalent to "the table below." 

If there is any difference between both phrases, I think it might just be that "the following/that follows" will refer to something coming immediately afterwards, while "below" may refer to something physically appearing in a lower position on the page, though not necessarily immediately after.

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