Beside or Besides? Which to use?

Beside and besides sound very similar, but they have different definitions. It’s important to learn how to use them properly.

Beside vs. Besides

When you use beside, without the s, you are telling the location of something. Besides, however, means “as well,” “in addition to,” or “moreover.” The meaning depends on the context.

Graphic illustrating the difference between "beside" and "besides". "Beside" is used as a preposition, and tells the location of something. "Besides" is used as a preposition or an adverb, and is a less formal alternative to "in addition" or "moreover".

How to Use “Beside” in a Sentence

Beside means next to or at the side of. It is a preposition

Example sentences: 

The two dogs walked beside each other.

She put her computer beside her coffee cup.

The house beside mine is for sale.

He sat beside me at the movies.

You could switch out the word beside with next to in each of those sentences, and they would have the same meaning.

The two dogs walked next to each other.

She put her computer next to her coffee cup.

The house next to mine is for sale.

He sat next to me at the movies.

How to use “Besides” in a Sentence

Besides can be used as a preposition or an adverb. As a preposition, it means “in addition.” It can also be used as an adverb meaning “moreover.” Besides is a less formal alternative than either “in addition” or “moreover.”

She doesn’t like swimming; besides, she doesn’t even have a swimsuit.

This sentence has a conversational tone, so the word moreover might sound too formal. If you were writing an essay, you might use moreover.

She doesn’t like swimming; moreover, she doesn’t even have a swimsuit.

Another option is to use what’s more.

She doesn’t like swimming, and what’s more, she doesn’t even have a swimsuit.

You can also place besides at the beginning of a sentence.

She doesn’t like swimming. Besides, she doesn’t even have a swimsuit.

Remember that besides can also be used as in addition. Once again, besides is the less formal option.

Do you have any books besides these novels?

Do you have any books in addition to these novels?

“That’s Beside the Point”

Have you ever heard the phrase beside the point? It is a common idiom and means “not relevant” or “unimportant.” However, it is not right to say besides the point

Correct: She passed the class, but that is beside the point. She was cheating!

Incorrect: She passed the class, but that is besides the point. She was cheating!

Hopefully, now you understand the differences between beside and besides and know how to use them correctly.


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