Key Difference – Beside vs Next to
Beside and next to are two prepositions that describe the position of an object or a person. Both these prepositions have the same meaning. The only difference between beside and next to is their level of formality; beside is generally considered to be more formal than next to.
What Does Beside and Next to Mean?
As mentioned above, both beside and next to have similar meanings. They generally refer to the position next to or at the side of another object. Look at the image below – here, you can say that nuggets are next to potato chips. This is also implied by the sentence – Chicken nuggets are besides the potato chips. Thus, these two prepositions are equivalent meaning. However, beside is often considered to be more formal than next to.
These two prepositions can also be used in comparisons. For example,
Next to her, I felt like a giant.
Beside her, I felt like a giant.
However, it is important to note that next to have an additional meaning, that cannot be conveyed by beside. Next to is sometimes used as a synonym for almost. For example,
I knew next to nothing about my aunt.
I knew beside nothing about my aunt.
Next to cannot be replaced with beside in this sense.
Some Examples of Next and Beside
Given below are some examples of beside and next to in sentences. Try and interchange the two prepositions to see whether if it makes any difference to the meaning.
Next to my beautiful sister, I look like a troll.
I kept your books on the table next to the armchair.
The resort is situated beside a beautiful lake.
He kept glancing at the girl sitting next to me.
I sat beside him in the front seat.
They sat next to each other, holding hands.
I put my ring on the table beside my bed, but now it’s missing.
You know next to nothing about your own children.
What is the difference between Beside and Next to?
- Beside and next to have similar meanings; both refer to the position at the side of something.
- Next to can mean almost, but beside cannot be used here.
- Beside is considered to be more formal than next to.