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Preposition - Beside

Preposition - Beside

 

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Preposition – Beside

 

 

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn to use the preposition "beside". In previous lessons, we have learned to use the prepositions "in, on, over, under, to, from, by, with," and "for".

We have learned that prepositions help us discuss the locations of persons, places, things, and ideas in relation to other persons, places, things, and ideas. We have learned that prepositions can be used in both concrete and more abstract ways.

The preposition "beside" means next to. When we use it with its concrete meaning, we might say "Jennifer stood beside David for their family photo." or "David put the fork beside the plate.".

Sometimes we use the word "beside" to compare two persons, places, things, or ideas.  When we use the preposition "beside" in its abstract sense, we might say "Beside Mrs. Smith's car, other cars seem small.". In this case, we do not need to compare the two cars side by side physically; we compare them in our minds.

In another abstract use, we could say "David thinks Mr. Johnson's  arguments are beside the point." which means (translate: beside the point.)

We sometimes use the word "besides" to mean in addition to, or over and above. Jennifer might ask her cousin "What do you like besides swimming?" .

We sometimes use "besides" as an adverb which means furthermore or in addition. We might say "David was tired and hungry after work. Besides, he was angry at Mr. Johnson.".

Now that we have seen the various meanings of the words "beside" and "besides", let us listen to the dialog. In this dialog, David has just gotten home from work, and he is not in a good mood.

Jennifer:  Why are you so unhappy?

David: I am tired and hungry. Besides, I am angry at Mr. Johnson.               

Jennifer:  Forget him!  Come sit beside me.

David: Mr. Johnson does nothing besides argue.

Jennifer:  David, people do not argue alone.

David:  That is beside the point!

Jennifer:  Beside some other bosses, Mr. Johnson is a wonderful boss.

David:  I would like to meet those other bosses.

Jennifer starts the conversation by asking David "Why are you so unhappy?".  

David answers "I am tired and hungry. Besides, I am angry at Mr. Johnson.".  In this expression, David is using the word "besides" as an adverb which means furthermore or in addition. He might have said "I am tired and hungry. I am also angry at Mr. Johnson." or "I am tired and hungry. I am angry at Mr. Johnson too." or he might simply have said "I am tired and hungry." And I am angry at Mr. Johnson.".

Jennifer advises David "Forget him! Come sit beside me.". We see that Jennifer uses the imperative forms of "forget" and "come". When Jennifer says "Come sit beside me.", she is using the preposition "beside" to mean next to. She might have said "Come sit by me." or "Come sit with me.".    

David says "Mr. Johnson does nothing besides argue.". In this expression, David uses the word "besides" to mean in addition to. He might also have said "Mr. Johnson does nothing but argue." or "The only thing Mr. Johnson does is argue.". He could also have said "Mr. Johnson does not do anything besides argue.".

Jennifer reminds him "David, people do not argue alone." Jennifer might have said "David, you argue with Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson is not arguing alone.".

David is probably tired of arguing all day, and he responds "That is beside the point!". David thinks that Jennifer is not staying on the topic.

Jennifer says "Beside some other bosses, Mr. Johnson is a wonderful boss.". Jennifer uses the word "beside" to mean in comparison to other bosses. Jennifer could have said "Mr. Johnson is nicer than some other bosses." or "Mr. Johnson is more wonderful than some other bosses." She might have said "Mr. Johnson is no worse than other bosses.".

David does not believe Jennifer's statement. He says "I would like to meet those other bosses.". David does not literally want to meet the other bosses. He is being sarcastic. He means that he has never seen any bosses who are as bad as his boss, so he would be interested in seeing a boss that compares with his.

Now that we have looked at the sentences in the dialog, let us listen to the dialog again. Listen to the varied meanings and usages of the words "beside" and "besides".

Jennifer:  Why are you so unhappy?

David:  I am tired and hungry. Besides, I am angry at Mr. Johnson.               

Jennifer:  Forget him!  Come sit beside me.

David: Mr. Johnson does nothing besides argue.

Jennifer:  David, people do not argue alone.

David:  That is beside the point!

Jennifer:  Beside some other bosses, Mr. Johnson is a wonderful boss.

David:  I would like to meet those other bosses.

Excellent! Your English is getting better and better. Use the words "beside" and "besides" in your English conversations. "It is fun to speak English. Besides, practice is good for you!".