Beside vs Besides
Have you ever been confused by the words beside and besides? Most non-native speakers think of them as being the same or having similar meanings and even use them interchangeably. However, the words are not the same, and there are many differences that will be highlighted in this article.
Beside is a preposition that is used to indicate closeness between two things. It literally means ‘next to’, and this meaning is conveyed in the following examples.
• The teacher asked his pupil to sit beside him.
• The tennis ball is lying beside TV.
• My house is beside the river.
• There is no one beside him in the commentary box.
To be sure, if ‘beside’ indeed is the word that is correct in the sentence you are writing, you can try substituting it with ‘next to’ or ‘not relevant to’. If they seem correct, beside is the word you should use.
The word besides is an adverb or a preposition. It means ‘in addition to’ or ‘apart from’ when used as a preposition. When besides is used as an adverb, it means ‘as well as’ or furthermore. Take a look at the following examples to grasp the usage of this word.
• Besides, the court did not go into the details of the ownership of the company (used as an adverb meaning furthermore)
• Besides Sammy, no one else completed the project on time (a preposition here, besides means apart from)
To make sure if besides is the word that is required in the sentence and not beside, all you need to do is to try ‘in addition to’ in the sentence. If it makes sense, besides is indeed the word to be used in the sentence.
What is the difference between Beside and Besides?
• While there was a time before 18th century when beside and besides were used interchangeably, a distinction is made between the two today, and both are reserved for different use.
• While beside is used as a preposition, besides is used both as a preposition as well as an adverb.
• Beside means next to while besides means apart from.