Beside and besides

  • WongFeiHung

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I think "besides" is the only thing that could work here, it is technically correct. But people do say both
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In a current post someone asks about a sentence like:

    Beside going to the seaside with the children, he climbs mountains.

    I would say besides in this context.

    The word beside doesn't even have an entry in the WR dictionary, though there are examples of its use in the forum, which strike me as correct, like he sat beside her.

    We say someone was beside himself with anger, not besides himself with anger.

    What differences do people perceive between beside and besides?
     

    Conchita57

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain/French - Switzerland
    There could be a way of using 'beside' in your first example. The sentence would have a totally different meaning, though, and the preposition would have the sense of 'as compared to':

    Going to the seaside with the children seemed rather dull beside climbing mountains.


     

    Rivendell

    Senior Member
    Spanish / Spain
    As a Spanish student of English I was always taught 'beside' means 'next to' and 'besides' means 'and also'.
     

    Matamoscas

    Senior Member
    Ireland English
    I agree with your preference for besides in the example you give, Thomas.

    Besides, I suspect one may be able to substitute in addition (to) for besides, but not for beside. I find I don't like or use beside very much, except in the literal sense and less literally when I am beside myself for one reason or another.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Here's how I think they're different...with a little help from my Concise Oxford.

    There is only one beside, and it's a preposition, which means it's necessarily followed by a noun phrase. Spatial sense, mostly.
    He sat in the chair beside the sofa.

    There are two besides.
    - One is an adverb
    Besides, it would be detrimental to our business
    It means moreover / in addition.

    - The other besides is a preposition. To my knowledge, unlike beside, it must always be followed by a verbal noun.
    Besides being extremely competent in her field, she is also a hard worker.
    Meaning : in addtion to being etc...
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...]
    - The other besides is a preposition. To my knowledge, unlike beside, it must always be followed by a verbal noun.
    Besides being extremely competent in her field, she is also a hard worker.
    Meaning : in addtion to being etc...
    "... must always be followed by a verbal noun"? :confused:

    Whilst that's one possibility, most dictionaries also give examples such as "... no other family besides my parents" (Oxford); "... any other sports besides football and basketball" (Cambridge); "Besides a mother he has a sister to support" and "No one here besides us" (Random House); "Besides its famous cakes, the bakery also makes ..." (Merriam-Webster) — all of which sound perfectly correct and normal to me.

    Ws:)
     
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