When learning the infinitive construction, my teacher told us that if “but, except, besides” serves as a preposition and before them there exists “do” or its other forms (did, does), “but, except, besides” will be followed by an infinitive with “to” being omitted, such as “He wants to do nothing but go out.” I am wondering if you could give me an example about “besides” followed by an infinitive with “to” being omitted.

In addition, I found this sentence in a dictionary “Besides making money, the company aims to set high standards of quality and design.” I thought “besides” could be followed by an infinitive and gerund. Am I right? Is there any differences? In addition, can "but" or except" be followed by a gerund ?

Thank you so much!

  • Typos and spelling mistakes happen to us all (or at least, they happen to me a lot), but it's worth particularly checking the spelling of a word you are asking about. I had no idea what besieds was when I saw this question in the list.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jun 12, 2014 at 11:03
  • See also English Language Learners
    – Kris
    Jun 12, 2014 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


I did nothing that day besides eat and sleep.

It would not be as common as the other two.

It's worth noting also, the question of whether one can use beside here instead of besides. Besides and beside were once pretty much interchangeable, but have moved apart (along with a few uses dying out entirely). Unfortunately, people don't quite agree on just what way they moved apart, and as such some would say beside was just as good and of those a subset would use it naturally, while some others would argue that this is wrong (or at least obsolete), and can only be besides. It may be well to favour besides in your own use, but not be critical should someone choose beside in the same place.

Both the bare infinitive and the gerund can be used with all three of the prepositions you mention. Your example, for instance, could also be expressed as "he cares about nothing except going out".

  • Additional data point: my first thought when I saw your quote was "Surely that should be beside". So perhaps better to avoid the word entirely while learning; it's slightly controversial, and elderly besides. Jun 12, 2014 at 12:38
  • This reminds me of linked nothing but/more/other than situation. “I wanted to do nothing more than eat and sleep that day.”
    – tchrist
    Jun 12, 2014 at 13:18

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