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Translating "Beside" & "Besides" into Spanish: Interesting Solutions!

written by: Eric W. Vogt • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 2/14/2012

These useful little words can make a conversation flow more smoothly or change direction by introducing a new thought. It also can be used in a literal way to show where things are relative to something else.

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    What Do You Mean When You Say "Beside" or "Besides"?

    Let's start with the easiest situation -- which is when we use beside to talk about our physical surroundings. In such cases, it means beside in the sense of next to or at someone's side. When this is the meaning you have in mind, there is not a one-word equivalent in Spanish for beside, but rather there are a couple of phrases: al lado de or a mi lado. The word lado means side, as in the physical side or border of anything, living or not. It is related etymologically to the English word lateral, which should make it easy to remember. Notice the possessive adjective in the second phrase? Instead of mi (my), it could be tu (your), su (his, her, your -- singular or plural -- or their) or nuestro (our) -- depending on whose side you're talking about. As the second example below shows, sometimes we use side in a figurative way, that is, metaphorically, by saying that someone stands with me -- in agreement.

    Su casa está al lado de la estación (His house is beside/next to the station).

    Todos mis amigos están a mi lado (All my friends are on my side).

    One Spanish word that answers the call of another use of the English word besides (note the plural in this case) is además. When we use beside with the meaning of moreover, or furthermore, the Spanish word además must be used. It is a great word for bringing up a new subject to augment or emphasize what one has already been saying or to change the direction of a conversation.

    Además, no me interesa meterme al agua a causa del frío (Besides, I'm not interested in getting in the water because of the cold).

    Finally, when de is added to además, the idea of beside becomes aside from or in addition to -- a definite way to augment or emphasize the topic of a conversation.

    Además de estar enfermo, Juan tenía que terminar un proyecto (Aside from being sick, Juan had to finish a project).

References

  • Author's more than 20 years experience teaching and translating Spanish.

Spanish Usage

The articles in this series deal with various questions about the right choice of word or phrase when English may have one or two structures but Spanish has more. They often deal with prepositional issues.
  1. Spanish Usage Questions: "Above"
  2. Using "Actual" and "Actually" in Spanish
  3. A Problem Preposition: The Ways "About" is Expressed in Spanish
  4. The Many Spanish Faces of the English Verb "to Agree"
  5. Spanish Usage Questions: Ways to say "Again"
  6. Expressing the Many Meanings of After
  7. Spanish Usage Questions: How to Say "Ahead"
  8. Spanish Usage Questions: "Anyone" and "Anybody"
  9. Using "Anyway..." in Spanish
  10. Let's Learn About How to Talk About Appointments & Dating
  11. What Do You Use for "Around" in Spanish
  12. The Spanish Verbs Meaning "to Ask" are Many!
  13. Beware of False Cognates! How to Express "Attend," "Assist," and "Help"
  14. Are You "Cool" or "Cold"? Explore the Nuances in Spanish
  15. The Difference Between "Why" and "Because" in Spanish
  16. The Temporal and Spacial Meanings of "Before": How to Get it Right in Spanish
  17. Don't Be Left in the Dust! Learn to Express the Meanings of "Behind" in Spanish
  18. Get the Low Down on the Preposition "Below" and Say it Right in Spanish!
  19. Understand Saying "Help" in Spanish
  20. Translating "Beside" & "Besides" into Spanish: Interesting Solutions!
  21. Not all Meanings of "But" Are Equal!
  22. Expressing the Various Meanings of the Preposition "By" in Spanish
  23. What Can the English Word "Can" Mean and How to Get it Right in Spanish
  24. Spanish Usage Questions: "Corner"
  25. The Word "Country" in Spanish
  26. The Various Meanings of "Outweigh" in English and How to Express Them in Spanish
  27. Expressing the Idea of "Ownership" in Spanish
  28. How to Express "Time & Distance" in Spanish
  29. Treat, Try, Attempt, Deal with... In Spanish, You Probably Need "Tratar"
  30. Spanish Usage Questions: "Having Fun"
  31. Even a Word Like "Even" Has Many Counterparts in Spanish
  32. Don't Go Wrong When You Look for Ways to Express "to fail"
  33. Do You Mean "Fair" Weather, a "Fair" Game or a "Fair" Complexion? Learn How to Say Them in Spanish!
  34. Love, Desire and Wanting -- Spanish Style!
  35. Discover the Right Spanish Verbs for Taking, Holding, Grabbing... and More
  36. You Have Nothing to Fear Except Not Knowing How to Say "Fear" in Spanish!
  37. Spanish Equivalents of the Common English Word "Find"
  38. Discover the Various Meanings of "Middle" and How to Say Them in Spanish
  39. Not All Spanish Words Meaning "Worker" Are Created Equal