Poll: Beside\Besides


That's beside the point.
That's besides the point.

Statistics Poll Stats

This Poll:

  • Votes: 11,196
  • Comments: 25
  • Added: October 2004



What is beside the point, the last word of the sentence? We should use besides here, beside is an indication of a place.


Beside the bus stop there's a lamp post, so what is beside the point? (so,thats wrong)
Really, without the 's' its an indication of position. you can even use it in comparisons 'beside your earlier work this piece seems rather disappointing'.


"Beside the point" is the right answer.

It's a phrase... you can't analyze it. Just like if you try to analyze "raining cats and dogs".



It's "beside the point", precisely because "beside" is an indication of place, as Trish says. Figuratively speaking, the subject in question is not the point itself, but beside it, and hence of lesser importance. Besides is more an adverb than a preposition, meaning "in addition to" or "other than". I can't see how it could possibly be used here, unless it's a fixed locution, which I strongly doubt it is.


google results:

3,190,000 for "beside the point"

478,000 for "besides the point"



it is beside the point because we say it when someone is getting off the subject or point, so they are going beside the point instead of straight at it

Scott Eller

Ankur Sharma

It depends on what is "the point".
if it is taken as a place "beside" is correct and if we take it as subject or topic "besides" is correct.


i find it absurd that people are arguing over this ludicrous debate. Its all all personal preference, you choice is yours in your own free will.

Your Mom

Somebody commented that 'besides' meant in addition to, and that is exactly what this phrase is trying to say.


For those who argue for 'besides' because it means 'in addition to'...try putting it in the sentence: "Hey you're off the topic! That is in addition to the point." Does this sentence still make sense to you? Well, it shouldn't. It is not 'in addition to the point' but it is beside the point. Somewhere else, not on the topic of the conversation. Therefore I, of course, vote for "BESIDE THE POINT"

nobody special

"you choice is yours in your own free will"

LOL. Thanks grammar master!


The argument is not absurd. Some people still want to the use the language well, and to write effectively.

beside = (1) alongside; or (2) in comparison with - e.g., when something is not on point it is beside (alongside) the point.

besides = (1) other than, except; or (2) in addition - e.g., no one besides us proper usage snobs seems to use these words correctly.


I think it depends on how strict you want to be with how you define 'the point'. Since the phrase is used when talking about a discussion, not a physical location, we shouldn't think in terms of 'The lamp is beside the bed.' Rather, 'the point' is a fixed subject matter, and anything that deviates from it is superfluous or extraneous, or simply not specific to the topic at hand. I voted for 'besides' because it means 'in addition to', which can be a synonym for that idea- something extra. However- I can appreciate the argument for 'beside the point' because it means not directly ON something, but rather off to the side.


No sense in arguing about logic of any expression. "Beside the point.".


I actually voted for "besides," but upon seeing such close results, I researched it.
It seems I was wrong. The proper way is "beside the point." The reason we can get into heated debates is simple: some of us love our language and wish to speak it properly. Perhaps we are writers who dread the thought of propagating bad grammar. Perhaps we are just learning the language and dearly want to learn it RIGHT. It's a good thing to debate and learn. By researching this, I am that much smarter than I was five minutes ago. Cheers!


Besides the point is analytically correct.

Sadly, misuse of the English language spreads like a virus. News reporters, who can serve as language examples to all who have radios, televisions, computers, etc., sometimes use the English language incorrectly. Some of the people who hear those incorrect pronunciations "learn" them... Case in point - "orientated." The first time I heard "orientated" was from a news reporter. I laughed at the absurdity. That was several years ago, and now "orientated" seems to be almost commonplace. Being nearly commonplace does not make it correct.

Likewise, I have always heard "That's beside the point" as an expression. Again, being commonplace does not make it correct.


Sharon, you need a reason for something to be 'analytically correct'. Just stating it doesn't make it true.


Hearing "besides the point" has always made me cringe when I heard it. I was curious about the correct use, which is how I ended up here. I would vote for "beside the point" just because I think it sounds better. After doing some research, it seems like this is the logical choice as well.


...depending on which "point" you mean, I guess...


Those poll results inspire horror on my part. What are they teaching people in our schools?!


I voted "Besides" because the word means 1) "other than" or 2) "in addition to" while "Beside means next to something. An argument can be "other than" the point in question therefore "Besides" is correct. An argument that is "next" to the point is meaningless.

Alex Tanner

Just say "That is NOT the point."

It is so much easier. BESIDES, any argument for a particular syntax will usually appear BESIDE an opposing argument that has been constructed in response. Thus the chain of debate continues...


i think beside is and expression for a place .

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