Anonymous asked: Okay, so this is something that has been confusing me for a while now. What is the difference between “besides” and “aside from”? For example, if I were to say, “I’ve had a good week, (besides/aside from) Tuesday when I fell into a waterfall.” which would I use?
Usually, “besides” and “aside from” can be used interchangeably; however, there is a very slight difference.
Besides (prep): In addition to; apart from
Aside from (prep): Excluding; with the exception of.
"Besides" is often considered to be a tiny bit less formal than "aside from".
So, let’s look at your sentence: “I’ve had a good week, (besides/aside from) Tuesday when I fell into a waterfall.” Here’s the breakdown:
I’ve had a good week, apart from Tuesday when I fell into a waterfall.But someone might misunderstand you and think you mean:
I’ve had a good week, in addition to Tuesday when I fell into a waterfall.Not likely. It is much more likely that readers will understand that, all things considered, you’re week would have been good if not for the waterfall incident. The phrasing suggests that you’re taking the waterfall incident into consideration when you make your pronouncement about the week being good, at least you’re taking it more into consideration than if you had used “aside from”. Speaking of…
I’ve had a good week, with the exception of Tuesday when I fell into a waterfall.Or
I’ve had a good week, excluding Tuesday when I fell into a waterfall.Basically, readers will understand that if you don’t take Tuesday into account, your week was good. The use of “aside from” suggests that, when you are tallying up the goods and bads from the week, you leave out the waterfall incident entirely. The reader understand that, while you’re not counting it, you feel you might as well mention it.
They are very nearly the same thing. I would say that, unless you’re using “besides” as an adverb or “aside” without the “from”, it would be all right to use them interchangeably. If you’re writing something more formal, you might go with “aside from”, and even then, there is only a slight difference.
Thank you for your question! If you have further questions or a comment to add, hit us up!