Beside vs Besides

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Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: April 26, 2024

Beside vs Besides

The intricate paths of English grammar, we often encounter words so similar in spelling and sound that they easily entangle even the most diligent students in a web of confusion. Among these linguistic conundrums, the pair ‘beside’ and ‘besides’ stands out, a duo of deceptively alike terms whose subtle distinctions can significantly alter the meaning of a sentence. While they share a common root, their application in the vast expanse of English communication diverges, leading many to misuse them in both written and spoken language. This article aims to illuminate these differences with clarity and precision, offering a beacon of understanding in the often murky waters of grammar.

The essence of ‘beside’ and ‘besides’, we uncover that these terms, though merely a letter apart, serve unique roles within the English lexicon. ‘Beside’, functioning as both a preposition and an adverb, gracefully indicates proximity, comparison, or exclusion, depending on its context. On the other hand, ‘besides’ often extends the conversation, adding elements or considerations with a hint of inclusivity. Through this exploration, we will unravel the nuances of each word, presenting scenarios where they may, on rare occasions, converge in meaning, and highlighting their typical usages through illustrative examples. Join us on this grammatical journey to master the distinction between ‘beside’ and ‘besides’, enriching your linguistic repertoire and empowering your communication skills.

Beside and Besides – Meanings

Beside: The word “beside” functions primarily as a preposition, painting a picture of proximity and placement within the English language. It elegantly draws a scene where one entity is positioned next to or adjacent to another, evoking a sense of closeness and immediacy. Imagine a book resting beside a cup of coffee on a tranquil morning table, symbolizing this connection. Beyond physical closeness, “beside” can also venture into the realms of comparison or metaphor, as in phrases like “beside the point,” where it suggests irrelevance to the matter at hand. In its less common adverbial form, “beside” continues to underscore the theme of adjacency, adding a layer of spatial context to the narrative.

Besides: The word “besides” wears its extra letter like a badge of additional responsibility. As a preposition, it introduces elements of addition or inclusivity, akin to saying “in addition to” or “apart from.” When someone says, “Besides chocolate, I also love vanilla,” they’re expanding the scope of their affection beyond the initial item. “Besides” can also transition into a role as an adverb, where it takes on a conversational tone to introduce new information or considerations, almost as if it’s saying, “Moreover” or “Furthermore.” In this capacity, “besides” serves as a bridge, connecting thoughts and ideas in a discourse, enriching the conversation with layers of depth and perspective.


The term “beside” primarily serves as a preposition, signifying proximity as in “next to,” or denoting comparison and exclusion with phrases like “compared with” and “apart from.” It also occasionally acts as an adverb, indicating a lateral position with “along the side of.” Conversely, “besides” functions as an adverb to introduce additional remarks or alternatives, embodied in expressions like “furthermore” and “otherwise.” Interestingly, both “beside” and “besides” share common ground when used adverbially to imply “in addition,” or as prepositions to extend the meaning to “in addition to” and “except for,” showcasing their versatile roles in enriching language with nuance and specificity.

Difference Between Beside and Besides

Exploring the nuanced distinction between “beside” and “besides” reveals their unique applications.

Aspect Beside Besides
Primary Function Preposition Preposition and Adverb
Meaning Proximity, comparison, exclusion Addition, exception, furthermore
Usage Physical or metaphorical closeness Introducing additional information or alternatives
Examples “She sat beside me.” “Besides running, I also enjoy swimming.”
Adverbial Use Rare, means “along the side of” Common, means “furthermore” or “in addition”
Prepositional Use “Next to”, “compared with”, “apart from” “In addition to”, “except for”
Context Mostly spatial, sometimes metaphorical Broad, including spatial, additive, and contrastive
Connotation Neutral, indicating mere placement or relation Inclusive or additive, suggesting an extension
Frequency Common in descriptions of location or spatial relations Common in arguments, lists, or expanding discussions
Interchangeability Non-interchangeable with “besides” in most contexts Sometimes interchangeable with “beside” in additive use.

Examples of Beside and Besides

Examples of Beside

  1. The lamp stood beside the bed, casting a warm glow across the room.
  2. She walked beside him, keeping pace with his every step.
  3. Beside the river, the children played in the golden afternoon sunlight.
  4. Place the vase beside the photograph for a balanced display.
  5. His performance was impressive, especially beside the seasoned professionals.

Examples of Besides

  1. Besides Italian, he also speaks Spanish fluently.
  2. I don’t think we need to buy more snacks; besides, we already have plenty at home.
  3. Besides her expertise in biology, she’s also an accomplished musician.
  4. Who is going to the party besides us?
  5. I’d love to join you for dinner, but besides being busy, I’m not feeling well.

When to Use Beside and Besides

Understanding when to use “beside” and “besides” is crucial for precise communication, as each word serves distinct purposes in language, enhancing clarity and meaning in different contexts.

  • Usage of  “Beside” 

    1. Indicating physical proximity: “The cat slept beside the fireplace.”
    2. Comparing or contrasting: “Beside her skills in math, her artistic abilities are remarkable.”
    3. Signifying apart from: “Beside these issues, the plan seems solid.”
  • Usage of  “Besides” 

    1. Adding information: “Besides a degree in marketing, he also has experience in sales.”
    2. Introducing exceptions: “There’s nobody here besides me.”
    3. Equivalently to “moreover” or “furthermore”: “The project is risky; besides, it’s expensive.”

Tips for Beside and Besides

Navigating the use of “beside” and “besides” can be simplified with a few strategic tips, helping to ensure their correct and effective application in your writing and communication:

  1. Remember the Core Meanings: Associate “beside” with physical or metaphorical closeness, like “next to” or “alongside”. Think of “besides” as a way to add information or an alternative, akin to “in addition to” or “apart from”.
  2. Check for Spatial Context: If you’re describing the location or position of something relative to another, “beside” is likely the word you need.
  3. Adding Information?: When you’re adding extra details or expanding on a point, “besides” is your go-to word.
  4. Consider the Sentence Structure: “Beside” is almost exclusively used as a preposition, so it typically precedes a noun or pronoun. “Besides” can function both as a preposition and an adverb, which means it can also lead into a clause or stand alone in a sentence.
  5. Use Mnemonics: Link “beside” with “side” to remember its spatial implications. For “besides,” think of it as “beside”+”s”, where the “s” stands for “something more” to signify addition or exception.
  6. Practice with Examples: Create your own sentences or find examples in literature and media to see how these words are used in various contexts.
  7. Peer Review: If possible, have someone else read your work to catch any misuse of these words.
  8. Read Out Loud: Sometimes, hearing the sentence can help you determine if “beside” or “besides” sounds more appropriate based on the context.
  9. When in Doubt, Look It Up: If you’re unsure, a quick reference check in a dictionary or style guide can clarify which word to use.
  10. Keep Learning: English is full of nuances, and the more you read and write, the more intuitive the use of tricky words like “beside” and “besides” will become.


Is It Beside the Point or Besides the Point?

“Besides the point” is the correct phrase, used to indicate that something is irrelevant or unrelated to the main topic of discussion. It emphasizes additional, unrelated information.

What Type of Word Is Besides?

“Besides” functions as both a preposition and an adverb. As a preposition, it means “in addition to” or “apart from.” As an adverb, it’s used to introduce further points or considerations.

Is Beside Formal or Informal?

“Beside” is neutral in tone and suitable for both formal and informal contexts. It precisely denotes physical proximity or comparison, fitting various types of communication without bias towards formality

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