Difference Between Aside or Beside

Aside” and “Beside” are two English prepositions that, due to their phonetic similarities, might be confused. However, they have distinct meanings and uses in sentences. Understanding the difference enhances clarity and precision in communication.

DefinitionTo the side, out of the wayNext to, at the side of
Part of SpeechAdverb, NounPreposition
UsageIndicates a comment or action moving away from the main topic, or physically moving something to the sideIndicates proximity or position in relation to something else
ExamplesSpeaking in an aside, moving something asideSitting beside someone, a book beside the bed

Difference Between “Aside” OR “Beside”

Definition of Aside

Aside" can function as an adverb or a noun, generally referring to a remark or passage in a play that is intended to be heard by the audience but not by other characters, or more broadly, to something moved or placed to one side. In conversation, "aside" suggests a deviation from the main topic.

Definition of Beside

"Beside," a preposition, signifies being next to or at the side of something or someone. It denotes physical proximity and is used to express a relationship of one object or person to another in terms of space.
beside definition

Origin of Aside

The term “aside” originates from Middle English, combining “a-” (on, in, into) and “side” (flank, edge), reflecting its literal meaning of “to the side” or “away from the main part.”

Origin of Beside

“Beside” also comes from Middle English, derived similarly but used distinctly to denote spatial relationship, meaning “by the side of.”


  • Aside: /əˈsaɪd/
  • Beside: /bɪˈsaɪd/

Despite their similarities, context usually provides clear differentiation in usage.

Comparing Aside and Beside

The distinction between “aside” and “beside” lies in their application in language. “Aside” emphasizes a separation or deviation, either in dialogue or physical space. In contrast, “beside” conveys closeness and side-by-side positioning.

FunctionAdverb or noun, indicating separation or commentary aside from the main topicPreposition, indicating spatial proximity
Example Use“He whispered an aside during the conversation.”“She sat beside her friend at the concert.”

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Aside in Sentences

  1. The actor delivered a humorous aside, making the audience laugh. (Refers to a comment meant to be heard by the audience but not by other characters in the play.)
  2. Let’s set those concerns aside for now and focus on the agenda. (Indicates putting something away from the main focus.)
  3. He pulled her aside to speak privately. (Describes physically moving someone to a separate space for a conversation.)
  4. Putting all jokes aside, this is a serious matter. (Figuratively moving away from distractions to emphasize seriousness.)
  5. In an aside, she mentioned that she was leaving early. (A comment made in deviation from the main conversation.)

Use of Beside in Sentences

  1. The lamp stood beside the bed, casting a soft glow. (Indicates the lamp’s physical position next to the bed.)
  2. Walking beside the river was incredibly peaceful. (Describes the act of walking next to the river.)
  3. She placed the book beside her plate and continued to eat. (Indicates the book’s placement next to her plate.)
  4. Beside his experience, his enthusiasm makes him a great candidate. (Comparatively, though less commonly used, indicating in addition to.)
  5. He felt small beside the towering statues. (Figuratively, to describe feeling insignificant when compared to something else.)


Understanding the distinction between “aside” and “beside” is crucial for effective communication. “Aside” is about moving or placing something to the side, either literally or figuratively, or making a comment that deviates from the main discussion. “Beside,” however, always refers to spatial proximity, indicating that something is next to something else. Recognizing and applying these differences helps avoid confusion and ensures clarity in expression.

Commonly Asked Questions

  1. Can “aside” and “beside” ever be used interchangeably?
    • No, “aside” and “beside” cannot be used interchangeably due to their distinct meanings—aside indicates a separation or deviation, while beside denotes proximity.
  2. How can I remember the difference between “aside” and “beside”?
    • A simple mnemonic is to associate “aside” with setting something aside (away from the main part) and “beside” with being by the side (next to something).
  3. Is there a situation where both “aside” and “beside” could be correctly used in the same sentence?
    • Yes, but they would serve different functions. For example, “He set the book aside and sat beside his friend,” where “aside” indicates moving the book away, and “beside” indicates sitting next to the friend.
besides meaning


What is the difference between “beside” and “besides”?

“Beside” is a preposition that means “close to” or “next to,” while “besides” is also a preposition that means “in addition to” or “apart from.” Additionally, “besides” can function as an adverb meaning “furthermore” or “another thing.”

How can I use “beside” in a sentence?

“Beside” is used to indicate a physical location or position. For example, “My phone is beside the TV” or “When I lost, my best friend sat beside me all night.”

In what context should I use “besides”?

“Besides” can be used as a preposition meaning “in addition to,” “apart from,” “other than,” or “except.” It must be followed by a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase. For example, “Besides photography, I also enjoy swimming, fishing, and reading” or “There was no one at the theater besides us.” It can also function as an adverb to mean “furthermore” or “moreover,” adding more information to a sentence. It is followed by a comma. For instance, “The hotel is expensive and besides, it’s not close to the conference center” or “I’m not hungry. Besides, I don’t like the food they serve here.”

How does “aside” differ from “beside” and “besides”?

“Aside” is an adverb that means “on or to one side” or “away from one’s thoughts or consideration.” It can also refer to a temporary departure from a main theme or topic, as in a short digression. For example, “They stood aside to let him pass” or “He took her aside to tell her of his plan.” It’s important to differentiate between these three words to ensure clarity and accuracy in your writing.

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