Grammar Chaos: Flipping to the B-Side—Beside versus Besides

Posted on Nov 22, 2017

Besides homonyms, which words get interchanged a lot? Words with common spellings. If you’ve accidentally used besides when you should have used just beside, then maybe you should read on.

Beside or Besides? Do you know the difference?

The confusion with the usage of beside and besides mostly stems from the fact that both of them are prepositions. Even so, they are used very differently.

Beside is a preposition that means “next to,” “nearby,” or “on the side of.” If you look at a rainbow, you’ll see that the color orange is beside the color yellow. In the alphabet, letter C is beside letter D. Here are more examples.

  1. I placed the car keys beside the hanging pot.

  2. The fire exit may be found beside the garbage chute.

Besides with an s has two uses. As a preposition, it means “other than,” “in addition to,” or “except.” Besides ice cream, cake would be something you’d serve at a birthday. Something you could do at the beach besides swimming is surfing. Here are more examples.

  1. Besides the sprinklers, I had a smoke detector installed.

  2. Do you have any idea where to go besides Vegas?

Besides can also be an adverb which means “moreover,” “as well,” “in addition, and “furthermore.” Below are some examples of its usage.

  1. I have no problem taking on the project. Besides, I need the additional income.

  2. We should go inside for dinner. Besides, it’s already late.

You can be beside yourself with worry (although not literally), but besides you, someone else can be worried. Get the difference? If you’re still apprehensive, remember that beside means at the side of. Besides means except or in addition to.

Don’t worry about getting the two of them wrong again. Besides, even fluent English speakers mix them up. (Wink, wink.)

Got a grammar problem? Shoot us a message, and we may be able to help! Or go through our blog, and see if we’ve already answered your query. Stay tuned for more Grammar Chaos!


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