Sunday, September 28, 2008

English Usage / Grammar Compendium

Hi All,

From today onwards, I would be posting a few points on the practical usage of English. I would update it every now and then. My request to you is not to start any discussions below this thread. Please go through it on a daily basis and learn as much as you can. You can discuss the points in a separate thread.If you would like to contribute something, you can mail the material to me and I will add it with your name. My email id is

Let' start:-

beside and besides
Beside is a preposition meaning 'at the side of', 'by' or 'next to'
Why is the cat sitting beside the chair?

Besides is used when we add new information to what is already known.
Besides aerobics, I have to do crunches and push ups.

Besides can also be used as a discourse marker meaning 'also', 'in any case',and 'as well'. It is often used to add a stronger, more conclusive argument to what has gone before. In this case, besides usually goes at the beginning of the clause.
It's too late to go out now. Besides, it's starting to rain.
I don't like this dress; besides,it's too expensive.

besides, except and apart from

Besides usually adds; it is like saying with, or in addition to or plus (+).
Besides cornflakes, I have fruits for my breakfast.

Except subtracts; it's like saying without, or minus (-).
I like all fruits except apples.

Apart from can be used in both senses.
Apart from cornflakes, I have fruits for breakfast. (= besides cornflakes)
I like all fruits apart from apples.(=except apples)

After no, nobody, nothing and similar negative words, the three expressions (besides, except, apart from) can all have the same meaning.

He has nothing except/besides/apart from his house. (= He only has his house.)